1. larsj's Avatar
    Bought a phone from a friend. This friend doesn't have a clue what he's doing with phones, computers etc, so when he bought it he had a friend set up a Google account for him. He doesn't remember which friend nor which email address the phone is synced with.

    Now I'm unable to reset the phone to use it. Tried the wifi-pull, but that solution seems to be patched. Tried connecting it to my computer, using RealTerm; not showing up in devices list, unable to install drivers etc etc. Nothing works.

    Any ideas?
    01-21-2017 10:32 AM
  2. hallux's Avatar
    The only official (and legal?) way to fix it is to sign in using the account it's registered to and then properly reset the device so that it can be set up with a different account.

    Factory Reset Protection: what you need to know | Android Central
    01-21-2017 11:44 AM
  3. larsj's Avatar
    Ok, so you can wipe the phone clean of all pictures, contacts and what else is in there and has value, but you can't restore the phone after for example buying it used withouth having access to the Google account it's been synced with? Words can hardly express the stupidity in that.. I mean, people can steal my phone, erase everything on it, and then it's rendered useless. Now, I wouldn't want a thief to be able to use my phone, but what if I buy a used one, like I've done? Arrgh..

    What about flashing it, reinstalling OS etc? I don't care how, I just want it to work.
    01-21-2017 12:58 PM
  4. hallux's Avatar
    You can, but the original owner has to follow specific steps to allow you to be able to sign in to the phone using your account. The article explains the process that needs to be followed by the seller in order to properly reset a device.

    Flashing the phone won't help, there is communication to Google's servers that process the authentication, I believe the server also checks your account against a record for the device to see if your account matches the one registered for that device (if the de-registration steps are not followed).

    For the record, Apple has a similar system in place. If the seller doesn't disable Find My iPhone, the device is still linked to their Apple ID and a buyer won't be able to sign in to the phone. At least Apple has a way around it, but it requires a proof of purchase from Apple or some other store, I'm not sure if there is any accounting for a private sale.
    01-21-2017 01:58 PM
  5. larsj's Avatar
    What if I change the IMEI?
    01-21-2017 09:40 PM
  6. hallux's Avatar
    What if I change the IMEI?
    Be sure to have a good lawyer on retainer, doing so is illegal (The FCC calls this cloning fraud - https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/cell-phone-fraud) and not something we'll discuss here. In fact, discussion of circumventing the security put in place on devices (including factory reset protection) is also not something we'll do. The only answers you'll get will be to find a way to properly (legally) de-register the device from the previous owner's account.
    01-21-2017 10:06 PM
  7. larsj's Avatar
    Ah, ok. I'm mot American, but we probably have similar laws here.

    What way might that be then? Maybe I can just call them?
    01-21-2017 11:21 PM
  8. hallux's Avatar
    Call who? If your friend has multiple Google accounts, he can sign in to them on the web and go to the My Account page. On there, if he goes to the device activity section (on the left under sign in and security) he can see if the device is associated with that account.

    If he has multiple email accounts and only one is a Google account, it has to be that one.
    01-22-2017 06:56 AM
  9. larsj's Avatar
    Call Samsung or Google or something, I don't even know..

    My friend didn't activate the account himself. Someone at the store probably helped him set it up to be able to use the app store, but he's got no idea what address the phone is synced with.

    I.e. I don't have access to the account the phone is synced with, period. Resetting the phone that way is not an option.
    01-30-2017 02:43 AM
  10. AlphaTango414's Avatar
    Try reading through here.
    01-30-2017 03:42 AM
  11. Aquila's Avatar
    Just return the phone to the friend for a refund, let them sort it out.
    belodion likes this.
    01-30-2017 07:30 AM
  12. larsj's Avatar
    Just return the phone to the friend for a refund, let them sort it out.
    That's really helpful.
    01-30-2017 10:38 AM
  13. Aquila's Avatar
    Sorry no matter how convoluted the explanation, we can't help you break into a phone. Options are to contact Samsung and they can't do much without you knowing the correct credentials. Therefore the only legal plan with a prayer is to return it to the seller.
    hallux likes this.
    01-30-2017 10:43 AM

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