Is it possible to unlock a mobile phone after the owner has passed away?

My darling Dad passed away suddenly in December, I'm assisting my StepMum with handling all the paperwork/ estate / will etc.
We've cancelled his mobile phone contract for his sim card but we know he has lots of photos on his phone - does anyone know if it's possible to unlock it ? we dont have the pin code / we havent found it documented anywhere yet.
 It's a Samsung handset so he must have a Samsung account ( again we havent found anything refering to asccessing that yet so i was going to try & contact Samsung Customer Services to see if they would help.
Do any of you already have experience of this ?
Thank you in advance 

Comments

  • RAS
    RAS Posts: 32,453
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    Probably for the techie forum rather than here?
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 9,067
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    Do you have access to his computer? Are photos backed up there? Have you tried accessing his Google Account via the computer, it may be pre-logged in? Are they backed up there?
  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 9,256
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    Is there a shop for whatever mobile company he was with near you?  You might find that a sympathetic person there might be able to help.  Failing that what about your local computer geek shop.  Thinking of somewhere like these lovely people who helped me when I had an issue with my tablet.

    Mobile, Tablet, PC and mac repairs and protection in Bournemouth | Wiseguys
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • KxMx
    KxMx Posts: 10,545
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    I have a Samsung phone but don't have a Samsung account, I use my Google account to "run" the phone.

    If you know his Google Account try logging in here:

    https://photos.google.com/

    Have you looked for a SD card inside the phone? That can then be put into a computer to view any files. 

  • pjs493
    pjs493 Posts: 150
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    It is possible but I'm not sure how. I know that the police can do clever things to access a phone if they need to following someone's death if it is relevant to any investigation they may need to carry out.

    Apple notoriously refused to provide access to handsets to police etc in several jurisdiction, but I think those cases involved criminals who were still alive who refused to provide PIN numbers because there could be incriminating evidence on their phones. It's obviously a different legal issue entirely when talking about someone who has died.

    I'm not sure about Samsung, but with Apple, you can nominate a person who can have access to your Apple account following death, such as a spouse. This was the result of a long court battle involving a lady who lost her husband unexpectedly and wanted to access his Apply phone to get access of photographs of their children growing up etc. She was ultimately successful and Apple created the feature to ensure that people could nominate someone who could have access if they died. I'd recommend anyone with an Apple phone do this just in case.
  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 13,297
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    I suspect it is one of these things where it's going to be easier to try unofficial channels than the official one (I think e.g. Google insist on you getting probate in California before they give executors access to deceased's accounts, or at least they used to).
  • km1500
    km1500 Posts: 2,120
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    edited 17 January at 8:31PM
    Samsung devices are secure and you need the PIN to unlock them or access to the associated Samsung account (with remote unlock enabled on the phone)

    they have a sophisticated security ship inbuilt so taking it to a corner shop would be a waste of time


  • Gers
    Gers Posts: 11,894
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    pjs493 said:

    I'm not sure about Samsung, but with Apple, you can nominate a person who can have access to your Apple account following death, such as a spouse. This was the result of a long court battle involving a lady who lost her husband unexpectedly and wanted to access his Apply phone to get access of photographs of their children growing up etc. She was ultimately successful and Apple created the feature to ensure that people could nominate someone who could have access if they died. I'd recommend anyone with an Apple phone do this just in case.
    Thanks for this information - it prompted me to set up the Legacy Contact on my iPhone.

  • pjs493
    pjs493 Posts: 150
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    Gers said:
    pjs493 said:

    I'm not sure about Samsung, but with Apple, you can nominate a person who can have access to your Apple account following death, such as a spouse. This was the result of a long court battle involving a lady who lost her husband unexpectedly and wanted to access his Apply phone to get access of photographs of their children growing up etc. She was ultimately successful and Apple created the feature to ensure that people could nominate someone who could have access if they died. I'd recommend anyone with an Apple phone do this just in case.
    Thanks for this information - it prompted me to set up the Legacy Contact on my iPhone.


    It's definitely something to tell other people about. I didn't know about it until after my husband died and he had so many photos of us as a family on his phone including the first photos ever taken of both of our children. I did manage to access his phone because I knew his PIN number, but there are so many people who might not know. He also had 'our playlist' in his Apple music account. It has been really comforting to have access to that and listen to it; it has music that we've added to it over the years and meant a lot to us, much of it was used at the evening party of our wedding.

    I also discovered my husband had automatic uploads to a private Google drive set up so there was a huge amount of photos in there going back a really long time. He'd added my email address to it long ago to share and he probably told me about it but I forgot. I think he set this up when his Apple iCloud got full to avoid paying the Apple fee for a bigger storage capacity.
  • Malthusian
    Malthusian Posts: 10,830
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    We've cancelled his mobile phone contract for his sim card but we know he has lots of photos on his phone - does anyone know if it's possible to unlock it ? we dont have the pin code / we havent found it documented anywhere yet.
    This doesn't answer your question, but I have thousands of photos on my phone. I have not taken any steps to ensure they can be accessed on my death, because all the good ones are on Facebook and Instagram, or in physical albums. All that would be lost on my death are duplicates and junk.

    If your father was keeping photos of sentimental value on his phone that he didn't keep anywhere else, I sympathise and hope you find a way to unlock his phone or online account.
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