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Accessing locked tablet

(Topic created on: 30-01-2024 09:12 AM)
First Poster
A family member has sadly passed away and im trying to find if there's a way to bypass the pin lock, so we can access their data for sorting their affairs and estate (I am the executor of said estate). I know it's probably unlikely but thought worth asking. I've tried pin combinations but Samsung has an annoying doubling of wait time after each failed attempt so it'll literally take forever to guess it, if indeed we can. 
Weirdly, exactly two years ago to the day you posted this, I endured the same unfortunate task of trying to gain access to my sister’s phone after she passed away on January 29th. Fortunately, we had a little time to pre plan some things, but ultimately, for many things that required password access, I was left in a similar situation. I was distraught and unable to accept reality, burying my head in the sand until it was too late. But as the only tech savvy person of my family, I took responsibility for recovering her cloud storage photos and other memories she gave permission for.

I gained access to the phone quite quickly as she opted for pattern and fingerprint protection. I guessed the pattern within the first couple of tries. As for passwords, I noticed that of the passwords she had shared with me over the years (Netflix, for example), there was a common theme to them. A name and year combination, mostly our dog's name with a year of significance attached. This took several attempts, but I got it in the end. In her final weeks, her mind deteriorated, and she created several accounts for the same thing, perhaps in confusion. She had given us permission to keep her photos as she was the one always taking photos in the family.

The problem I first encountered was that the Microsoft 365 account I had given her several years prior was no longer the one attached to her Samsung account. The one she was using at the time had almost no photos saved on it. In an attempt to find passwords, I searched her Samsung Notes app. In hindsight, while I did find some passwords, I also read two notes she had written that I will never be able to forget; they were utterly soul-destroying. I still can't verbalize them without breaking down, even two years later. If you eventually gain access, be careful what you expose yourself to.

8 days before she passed, she insisted on getting a hand cast of us holding hands. At the time, I hated the idea, thinking it would be an item that would just bring eternal sadness every time I looked at it. But it has done the opposite. Something about the way we held hands—I can't explain it—but it holds powerful symbolism to me, its my most prized possession. When I received the cast and saw the level of detail it possessed I started to look into very complicated and elaborate ways of getting parts of her fingerprints off this mold to gain access to her password keeper app for the final few passwords. Thankfully my other sister found a code written on a piece of paper in her room that was the backup pin code to the password keeper before I lost the plot.

A lot of it was luck, some of it was doing research by going back through our conversations to find times where we shared passwords to find patterns, but we got there in the end. I don’t believe there is anything you can do if you don’t have a way into the device. We were unable to open her iPad, and there was nothing we could do about that. You can call customer services for certain companies to cancel bills and subscriptions; some ask for a death certificate however. I think the easiest method is to contact any banks, they have specialist support for bereaved customers, and once the bank is informed of the death, they will be able to cancel all direct debits, standing orders, and cards in their name. I don’t know the exact ins and outs of how easy or hard this process is, as my other sister did a lot of this.

Apologies for dumping my grief here without giving much help. The anniversary passed me by this year without me noticing. I'm still coming to terms that she's gone.

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First Poster
Firstly, I am sorry for your loss. Not a problem dumping your grief, sometimes you have to let it out.

I have a solicitor handling the ins and outs, but they keep saying I need his emails and I do not have access. I figured there'd be no other access.

Oh well.

Thank you so much for the warning of what one might find. I hope you have begun to heal over what is always a traumatic process. Thank you again