Android Screen Broken: How to Enable USB Debugging and Recover Data

By Lois Green, Wednesday, September 13, 2017

When you cannot access your Android phone because the screen is broken, how to recover data from the broken Android might be your priority. However, as USB debugging is disabled on the broken Android, you are unable to connect your phone to PC via MTP mode and recover the data. Thus the problem will be: how to enable USB debugging on Android with broken screen?

USB debugging is a way to facilitate a connection between Android device and a computer so that you can access your phone from the computer and transfer data. Normally, you can enable USB debugging on Android in these steps. However, when your Android phone screen is broken and unresponsive, you needs to enable USB debugging on broken screen with extra tools: OTG cable or ADB tool. And if neither of the methods works on your phone, you can also recover data from screen-broken Android without USB debugging.

Enable USB Debugging without Touching Screen

If the touch screen on your Android phone is broken, but the display is still on (you can still see the display), you can use a USB OTG and a mouse to control the phone with broken screen and enable USB debugging.

USB OTG (USB On-The-Go) is a techonolgy that allows you to connect a device(mouse, USB drive, keyboard, etc.) to your smartphone or tablet through the USB Type-C or micro USB port. For example, by connecting a mouse to your phone via OTG cable, you can use the mouse to control the phone without touching screen.

But not all Android phone supports OTG technology. So you should check whether your broken phone (Samsung, HTC, Huawei, LG, Lenovo, Sony, Asus, etc.) is OTG supported. You can refer to the users manual of the phone or just google if your phone supports USB OTG with the specifc device model.

To use OTG cable to enable USB debugging on your Android phone with broken screen: 

STEP 1. With a workable OTG adapter, connect your Android phone with a mouse.

TIP: Some users have succeeded in connecting a Xbox/PS3/PS4 USB wired controller to smartphone and enabling USB debugging with the controller. If you have a controller, you may want to give this a try.


OTG Connect Android with Mouse


STEP 2. Click the mouse to unlock your phone and turn on USB debugging on Settings.


Enable USB Debugging


STEP 3. Connect the broken phone to computer and the phone will be recognized as external memory.

STEP 4. From the computer, open the file folders of your phone and copy the photos, contacts, videos, music that you need to the computer.

Tip: If your phone is in black screen and USB debugging is disabled, please jump to how to recover data without USB Debugging.

Enable USB Debugging on Android from Computer

Is it possible to enable USB debugging on Android remotely from a computer? The question has been brought up on various forums. And the answer is a no. There is no way to enable USB debugging from PC/Mac. But you can still use ADB command or terminal to backup broken Android with PC.

On Android, there is a tool called SDK, which can debug problems with Android devices. Android Debug Bridge (ADB) tool is part of the SDK tool. With ADB tool on PC, your PC can communicate with your Android phone via USB and execute a series of commands, including back up data on the phone. By excuting ADB command, you can extract data from broken Android with USB debugging.

STEP 1: Install ADB tool on your PC.

STEP 2: Normally ADB need to communicate with a phone with USB debugging. Since USB debugging is off on your broken phone, you need to boot your device into ClockworkMod Recovery mode.

STEP 3: When your phone is in recovery mode, launch ADB tool and connect the phone with broken screen to PC via USB.

STEP 4: Type this in command prompts: adb devices.

STEP 5: Then type the command to backup data on broken Android:

  • adb pull / data / media / clockworkmod / backup ~ / Desktop / Android-up


Backup Broken Android with ADB


Tip: If you are not a techie and know nothing about ADB, fastboot and command, it is risky to follow the tutorial to use ADB cammand without knowing what you are doing. You may end up bricking your phone and turning it into a total garbage.

Obviously, it is very difficult for ordinary users to enable USB debugging on an Android phone with broken screen. But luckily, there is still a way that allows you to access your phone and recover data with no USB debugging.

Samsung Data Recovery without USB Debugging

FonePaw Broken Android Data Extraction is an application for Windows PC that can recover data from Android phone with broken/black/locked screen. With the application, you can access photos, contacts, WhatsApp/SMS messages, music, videos, etc. on your screen-broken phone from PC and save the data on PC. You don't need to enable USB debugging for the application to work. It is a good helper when you need to extract/backup data from the phone with broken screen.

Currently, FonePaw Broken Android Data Extraction supports data recovery from Samsung S4/S5/S6/Note 3/Note 4/Note 5/Tab Pro 10.1. Follow these steps to retrieve data from your phone with broken screen.

STEP 1. Download Broken Android Data Extraction on your Windows PC and run the program.

Windows Version Download

STEP 2. Connect your phone with broken screen to PC with USB cable. And choose Start.


Choose Start


STEP 3. Choose the device name and model of your phone. Click Confirm.


Select Device Name and Model


STEP 4. The FonePaw program will guide you to put your phone in Download mode. Follow the guide to enter Download mode with Home + Power + Volume Down button.


Enter Download Mode


STEP 5. The program will begin to scan out your phone data. After it is done, all your phone data will be displayed.


Recover From Broken Android


STEP 6. Select the data that you need and click Recover to save the data on your computer.

With FonePaw Broken Android Data Extraction, you can also fix the bricked Android phone, such as Android phone that is stuck in boot loop, recovery mode and more. It is highly recommended that the program requires no technical knowledge for ordinary users to fix Android system problems and recover data from Android phone with broken screen. 

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