How can I get data off an unresponsive phone?


Fairphone 1 - First batch.

My phone’s charger point started malfunctioning recently - it would only charge when pressure was applied. It was clear this situation was getting worse - one night the phone said it was charging but the battery percentage didn’t actually increase (rather it stayed on the same number) and then when I unplugged it from charging it dropped to where it would have been had it not been on charge.

I took it to a phone repair shop and they said they could fix it, however it turned out to be a more complicated job than expected and he couldn’t fix it. Since he tried to fix it, my phone won’t turn on any more. I have charged the battery in a friend’s phone (and tried his battery too), so there is definitely power in the battery.

Is there any way for me to get my data off the phone? / Anyway to fix the phone?

(I was shocked at Fairphone’s 118 euro solution to the problem of buying a new motherboard, and no way of knowing if it would be covered under warranty without sending it to them!)

Thank you so much!

I’m assuming you’re talking about data stored on the internal memory (as data on the SD-card can be read in any other device). I’m also assuming the phone is not responding in any way - i.e. it doesn’t even vibrate when trying to switch it on. Please let us know if those assumptions are flawed.
Unfortunately, the internal memory is soldered onto the motherboard. The phone repair shop has probably attempted to resolder the USB connector onto the motherboard. There’s a chance that damage was done to the motherboard in the process, or that the phone wasn’t reassembled properly afterwards. In the first case, the odds of getting the phone to start well enough to recover data may be slim - you’ll need specialist help which is likely going to be more expensive than getting a new motherboard. I’m not sure how likely misassembly is, the battery contacts are directly on the motherboard, but if you’re extremely lucky it could, for instance, be an issue with the power button. There are guides on iFixit on how disassemble/reassemble the phone, if you want to try (or try a different repair shop for a second opinion).

Note that I’m not sure how the actions performed by the repair shop impact your warranty, and whether any attempts you undertake yourself change that situation.

Also, please note that the €118 option is a replacement of the motherboard. It won’t recover the data.

Lastly, if you’re using google services, some data may be available in your google account online (depending on your settings).


Thank you for your reply and advice.

Yep - data on the phone (no memory card). And yes, literally no response from the phone on pressing the on button. When I pressed the guy for what he’d done and why it might not work he said he didn’t know. He’d tried to reconnect the 3 connection points that had come loose from the USB port.

The guy mentioned software that’s available for eg samsungs to extract the data from the phone - he said I could try that although I don’t know how that would work if the USB port is unresponsive…?

I’m really hoping he hasn’t damaged the motherboard -I’m taking it to a different shop for a second opinion. I’m fairly certain my actions will have voided the warranty. (But then Fairphone actively encourages trying to fix things yourself! Seems like a double standard to me). The 118 euros is the cost of replacing the motherboard, which would have solved the charging port connection problem too. Seems a very steep price to pay for that component when there wasn’t originally a problem with the motherboard.

Good luck!

I hope you find a solution for that. It is annoying a broken USB can render the whole motherboard useless. I had a similar issue with a nokia N8 and before that a nokia S40 device where the power button broke. Even more annoying is probably the loss of data, If come to the habbit only using the internal storage for app and app data that is also saved somewhere else, like contacts, calendar and email. Everything else, i put on the SD card. But that does not help you now.

I am quite sceptic at the Samsung software stuff. I have no idea how that should work. If the connector is broken, there is no way to get to the data using the USB port, whatever software that is. Furthermore, there is little chance the Samsung Tools work with a Fairphone. It’s a completely different plattform.

At least: On the Fairphone 2, the usb connector is not soldered on the mainboard, but part of the camera/USB module which can be replaced for 25€ and using only standard tools.


You should definitely try to get the USB connector replaced properly at that Bradford repair shop, @ThatMartinGeezer suggests here. They have seen a Fairphone 1 at least once and 25 pounds is also not much in comparison with 120€.