How to unlock your Galaxy Note9 if password is not working (screen won’t unlock)

There are times that we may forget our PIN or Password to unlock our phones. In this troubleshooting episode, we help one user who’s trying to unlock his Galaxy Note9. He did not forget his passcode though but the phone simply won’t unlock itself for some reason. Learn what to do when faced with this issue below.

Problem: Galaxy Note9 screen unlock password not working

No problems until today. Suddenly when I try to unlock my phone with an alphabetic passcode it goes black screen for a few seconds then back to the lock screen. This happens when I try to power down or restart. I keep getting the lock screen after typing in my passcode correctly. The hard reset does not work. I’ve tried watching videos and following the instructions but I can’t get past the lock screen. 

Solution: There’s no way to know for sure why your Note9 acts the way it does when you try to unlock it. Below are the solutions that you can do to fix it.

Clear cache partition

If you are positive that you are entering the correct password or passcode but the screen won’t unlock at all, the very first thing that you want to do is to deal with system cache. It may be corrupted and causing the problem right now. Try to clear the cache partition where it’s located and see what happens.

  1. Turn off the device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up key and the Bixby key, then press and hold the Power key.
  3. When the green Android logo displays, release all keys (‘Installing system update’ will show for about 30 – 60 seconds before showing the Android system recovery menu options).
  4. Press the Volume down key several times to highlight ‘wipe cache partition’.
  5. Press Power button to select.
  6. Press the Volume down key until ‘yes’ is highlighted and press the Power button.
  7. When the wipe cache partition is complete, “Reboot system now” is highlighted.
  8. Press the Power key to restart the device.

Restart to Safe Mode

Another good way to possibly fix the problem is by unlocking the device when it’s on safe mode. This is to see if there’s an app that prevents the system from recognizing the passcode. On safe mode, no downloaded app will be allowed to run. If you can unlock the device on safe mode only but not on normal mode, you must do a follow up troubleshooting later on to identify the bad app.

To boot the phone to safe mode:

  1. Turn the device off.
  2. Press and hold the Power key past the model name screen.
  3. When “SAMSUNG” appears on the screen, release the Power key.
  4. Immediately after releasing the Power key, press and hold the Volume down key.
  5. Continue to hold the Volume down key until the device finishes restarting.
  6. Safe mode will display in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  7. Release the Volume down key when you see Safe Mode.
  8. Unlock the screen.

If you can unlock the phone here, that means that there’s an app issue. To know which of your apps is to blame, you want to do a process of elimination. Here’s how:

  1. Boot to safe mode.
  2. Check for the problem.
  3. If the screen unlocks on safe mode, you can start uninstalling apps individually. We suggest that you begin with the most recent ones you added. Do it one at a time.
  4. After you uninstall an app, restart the phone to normal mode and check for the problem.
  5. If your device is still problematic, repeat steps 1-4.

Unlock your phone using Android Device Manager

If you enabled ADM or Android Device Manager on this phone, you can unlock its screen by using this free Google utility. In order for this to work, the phone must have internet connection as it needs to talk to Google servers to confirm your unlock code. Here’s how to use ADM to unlock your Note9:

  1. On a computer or other mobile phone, visit:
  2. Sign in using your Google login details that you also used on your locked phone.
  3. In the ADM interface, select the device you need to unlock (if it isn’t already selected).
  4. Select ‘Lock’
  5. In the appearing window, enter a temporary password. You don’t have to enter a recovery message. Now click ‘Lock’ again.
  6. If it was successful, you should see a confirmation below the box with the buttons Ring, Lock and Erase.
  7. On your phone you should now see a password field in which you should enter the temporary password. This should unlock your phone.
  8. Now, before you go on with your life, go to your phone’s lock screen settings and disable the temporary password.

Unlock your phone using Android Device Manager using its Find My Mobile tool

Like with the previous option, this one also needs previous set of Find My Mobile and internet connection. If you did not add a Samsung account to your phone or internet connection is off, this won’t work. Below are the steps to use Find My Mobile to unlock your Note9:

  1. Go to Samsung Find My Mobile.
  2. Sign in using your Samsung login details.
  3. In the Find My Mobile account interface you should see your registered phone on the left hand side. This tells you that you’re phone is registered to that account.
  4. On the left sidebar, select ‘Unlock my screen’.
  5. Now select ‘Unlock’ and wait for a few seconds for the process to finish.
  6. You should get a notification window telling you that your screen is unlocked.
  7. That’s it!

Factory reset

If none of the suggestions above won’t help, the last option for you is to wipe the phone manually. Keep in mind that starting with Android – 5.0 Lollipop onwards, all Samsung devices are protected by FRP or Factory Reset Protection. This security feature will ask you to enter the Google account username and password after you’ve factory reset the device. If you can’t enter the correct one, your phone will remain locked. So, Factory reset should only be performed if you know your Google credentials.

Factory reset in this situation of course will erase all personal data in the internal storage device. Since there’s no way to back them up right now, they’re good as gone.

Here’s how to factory reset your Note9:

  1. Turn off the device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up key and the Bixby key, then press and hold the Power key.
  3. When the green Android logo displays, release all keys (‘Installing system update’ will show for about 30 – 60 seconds before showing the Android system recovery menu options).
  4. Press the Volume down key several times to highlight ‘wipe data / factory reset’.
  5. Press Power button to select.
  6. Press the Volume down key until ‘Yes — delete all user data’ is highlighted.
  7. Press Power button to select and start the master reset.
  8. When the master reset is complete, ‘Reboot system now’ is highlighted.
  9. Press the Power key to restart the device.

Get Samsung’s help

If you want to choose a more complicated option of unlocking your device, you can bring it to Samsung. They should be able to wipe the phone for you too. As regards your personal data, there’s nothing that they can do about them though and they’ll also get deleted in the process.

Samsung won’t just wipe the phone for you. They’ll need proof to know that you’re the owner of the device so you’ll have to bring some IDs and the proof of purchase (receipt) to confirm your identity.

Unlock your Galaxy Note 9 using your S Pen

For future reference, you can also unlock your Galaxy Note9 using the S Pen. If you did not set it up before your phone got locked though, you won’t be able use it now. Still, we think it might come handy in the future if you decide to use its remote shutter to easily access your device.

Here’s how to prepare the S Pen settings to unlock your Galaxy Note9:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap Advanced Features.
  3. Tap S Pen section at the top.
  4. Go to S Pen settings and tap on Unlock with S Pen.
  5. Tap Unlock with S Pen Remote.

NOTE: S Pen unlock method only works if you’ve already set up any security method on the device such as PIN, Password, Pattern, etc. Also, make sure that your S Pen is connected to your Note9’s Bluetooth before using it to unlock the screen.

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Harvey Hisona

Harvey is keen with mobile technology and loves writing about all things mobile. He is passionate in helping technology-challenged people by finding resolution to their issues. Contact me at Email

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