How Do I View Messages on a Broken Phone?

News Highlights: How Do I View Messages on a Broken Phone?.

Tech 911Tech 911 Do you have a technical question that keeps you up at night? We are happy to answer it! Email david.murphy@lifehacker.com with “Tech 911 ”in the subject line.

Nobody likes a broken phone screen, especially when you need something on your device but can’t see your screen at all. It’s a frustrating situation, as Lifehacker reader Ayana explains in this week Tech 911 question:

I dropped my phone in the bath about 4 days ago now. I thought I saved it on time but the screen eventually started to glitch and the screen went black. It’s still on … still ringing … I still hear my message notifications go off … I just can’t see it and my screen is still black. [Is] is there a way to access my phone’s messages and call logs without having to do anything with the other phone?

It’s important to set up your phone before disaster strikes

This is a difficult one, Ayana, because there are lots of ways to do what you want to do. However, you need to have many of them set up before you can no longer communicate with your device. If you haven’t, you’re out of luck, and that’s the unfortunate byproduct of devices that don’t necessarily sync your data to the cloud once you start using them. (This really should be the default option.)

You didn’t say what platform you use so I’ll give you some solutions for iOS and Android. If you have a iPhone, it’s incredibly easy to access your messages, assuming you’ve synced them with iCloud before. Pull up another Apple device like an iPad or MacBook, make sure you’re signed in to iCloud and sync messages with iCloud, and you should be able to send and receive as if you were doing it from your computer. iPhone self.

Likewise, if you previously had your iPhone to a Mac and imagine iPhone as a trusted device, you should be able to access your device via Finder and make a quick backup. That won’t give you access to your messages right now (you would need a third party app before), but it will set you to restore said messages to a new or restored one iPhone moving forward.

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If you don’t have any other Apple devices, you’re stuck. Apple does not provide a web-based way to view your messages. And while some Others third-party apps exist that could theoretically allow you to interact with Messages using, say, a Windows computer, you should set them up on your iPhone also. Since you don’t have access to it, that solution is out.

If none of these suggestions work, it’s best to make an appointment with the Genius Bar and see what Apple engineers can do. I would take your MacBook, if you have one, in the hope that they may be able to get a backup of your device before repairing or replacing it. I am not sure what they can do if you cannot verify in those mentioned iPhoneas the screen won’t work, but it’s worth a try.

In the future, make sure your device backs up to iCloud regularly; if not, make sure to make regular backups. (The former is much easier to deal with than the latter.)

If you’re using an Android phone, there are several ways you can access your messages via the cloud, but you should use a service for which you must have previously set it up on your device. There are many apps for this type of thing, but they don’t do you much good if they aren’t already installed on your Android. For that reason, I highly recommend switching to Messages from Google, which will at least give you access to your messages via a website moving forward.

Likewise, if you had USB debugging enabled before, you can even run a PC app like Scrcpy to view and control a connected Android. Regardless of which method you use to get into your phone, be sure to back it up (including your messages) so that you can restore everything to a new (or fixed) device in the future.

The best, universal solution for a phone with a broken screen

Whether you are a iPhone or an Android, you can try this slightly more expensive (and desperate) approach to access your device. You basically need any combination of dongles, hubs, and cables to do the following:

  • Connect your phone to an external display (via HDMI)
  • Connect a USB mouse and keyboard to your phone

So for one iPhone, you might consider using something like this, which you would connect to your iPhone, then connect to a TV (via HDMI) and a USB hub that has its own keyboard and mouse connected. This would you can see the screen of your device and / or manipulate it with a mouse instead of your finger.

This is the approach I would try if my phone’s screen was broken, but it will be a bit expensive. If your text messages aren’t worth that much to you, save this solution for last.

Do you have a technical question that keeps you up at night? Tired of troubleshooting your Windows or Mac? Looking for advice on apps, browser extensions or tools to accomplish a particular task? Let us know! Tell us in the comments below or send an email to david.murphy@lifehacker.com.

Via: lifehacker.com

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