Screen cracked, display not working but need to back up data

Hi all,

I’m really hoping someone can help me…

My phone was dropped this morning, resulting in a cracked screen. The phone appears to be ‘on’ (I can see the notification light flashing) though the screen remains black. When I press the ‘on’ button at the top, the screen becomes a lighter shade of dark but does not display the usual screenlock/home page.

I’m pretty sad about this as it means that I cannot access my phone and/or see any of my data or files. The screen will need to be repaired, and I see that it looks easy enough to send a phone off for repair. However, i see that you need to deactivate the screen lock and back up data before sending the phone off - but I cannot see how I am able to do either because of the dark screen problem. I am quite sad and a wee bit worried about this, as my phone contains unbacked up photos and videos of my infant son, so I’d really like to access and back these up. Has anyone been in the same position? Does anyone have any advice/instructions about how to back up data with a broken screen?

Any experiences/advice gratefully received!

Connect your phone to a computer and find the appropriate folders (must be similar to “pictures”, “videos”). Copy them to your computer.

The following advice would save you from backing up your data and save you money at the same time! Order a replacement screen and repair the phone yourself, using the manual from iFixit.

Instructions: How to connect your Fairphone to a computer (PC, Mac and Linux)

Also, if you have a SD card in your phone your photos and videos are likely saved on this, this means you can take out the SD card and insert into another phone to retrieve the photos. The folder is named DCIM on the SD card.

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Thanks @Stefan and @gamlao for the quick replies.

Thanks for this Stefan. Unfortunately, this is part of the problem for me. We have a mac computer and find the Android File Transfer App really unreliable - it doesn’t allow for simply hooking up your phone to a USB and finding the FP automatically (like it used to when FP1 first came out). Now, I have to choose ‘connect as USB’ through the phone pull down menu, but I can’t do this because of the dark screen problem. [We’re lucky if the File Transfer App works on a good day, so I’m not sure how to get it working on a bad one.] Do you have any thoughts on how to get round this, other than begging to borrow a windows computer from someone?

And thanks for the input @gamlao. Unfortunately I don’t have an SD card in there.

You could access your Fairphone through your Mac’s command line interface. I don’t own a Mac, but I found this: How to get to the Command Line on a Mac. Here is a list of all commands in OS X. You need “cd” to go to the folders and “mv” to move folders to your Mac. Probably “ls” might also come in handy, it will display all files/folders in your current directory.

If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to ask. :slight_smile:

I moved the topic from Repair to Help because it does not deal with the reparation of the phone.

Thanks for this @Stefan - looks like it could be really helpful once I get my head around it. A quick question though: will this work if the computer doesn’t recognise the FP device? Whenever I connect my FP and try to use Android File Transfer it says ‘No Android Device Found’ (and this was the case before the screen problems), so I’m wondering if the command line interface will be able to access the files on the phone in any case.

It is also possible to send a phone to the repair centre and mention explicitly you were unable to backup your data. They can try to do this for you, or try to avoid wiping your data. It just takes a bit ore time before you will get your phone back. (my own repair is taking weeks longer, because they misinterpreted my problem explanation as “I didn’t backup my phone before” :slight_smile: )

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I would say, your Mac is missing some driver, if it doesn’t detect the Fairphone. If Mac is any similar to Ubuntu, this might help you. I used this once to make ADB work on Ubuntu.

A simple question: When you tried to transfer data (via USB) between your Mac and the FP, did you remove the FP case (if you use one) before?
I always do so now, but I remember that when I used to try to transfer data between my Mac and my FP with the case still on the FP, I had to push the plug really firm into the FP’s USB port (I don’t recommend to do this too often, bear in mind the FP USB port is a known weakness) to enable data transfer and not just charging (power).

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Quick note: Accessing via USB,MTP, and ADB only works when the screen is not locked!
Also: For ADB to work, you would need to have it enabled in the developer options beforehand.

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Thank you all. I think @ben has hit the nail on the head: I can’t unlock the screen because of my phone’s particular problem. Thanks for your input @urs_lesse, I don’t have a FP case, so this one isn’t a particular problem for me, but will bear it in mind for my husband’s phone.

I think I will order a replacement screen and ask a local repair centre to fix it. Speaking to them today, they assured me this can be done safely without risk to data, so fingers crossed. The only problem now is that the web shop doesn’t seem to be working. Sigh. Hopefully I’m that bit closer to getting things fixed though.

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