Transferring from screenless cell phone to a new phone
October 14, 2020 5:53 AM   Subscribe

I dropped my Android phone in a lake briefly. The screen doesn't work but the rest of the phone does. My new phone arrives in a few days. What do I need to do?

I've never dealt with transferring to a new phone from an old phone that I didn't have access to. In this case, the phone is operational but the screen is not. Both phones are Android; old is Motorola and new is Samsung. The screen on the Motorola doesn't work, but all other phone functions seem to work.

Most data is either in the cloud or on the still working SD card. I'm using my old SIM card in an old phone in the meantime and that's getting me by with calls and text messages, etc.

I'm most worried about what to do with apps like Authy and Google Authenticator. I've also had an issue with signing in to some google services on a new device; Google tries to authenticate my identity by sending a notification to the old phone (specifically to the old phone or asking me to do something in the old phone's settings; not a text message or email with verification code) and I can't do that. A few times I've been able to push the right buttons to get it to send me a text message, but sometimes I just hit a dead end.

It seems like I need to use a google website to sign out of my old phone, but is there anything I should do before signing out of the old phone?

Is there any way to use a computer monitor as the screen of the old phone (without having to do anything on the old phone screen to enable that)?

Is there anything useful/interesting I can do with the old phone without a working screen?
posted by msbrauer to Technology (6 answers total)
For the most part, since you're using the same SIM card, you'll be able to disable and then re-enable two factor authentication on the new phone. It's usually the same song and dance for every service. Log in, get prompted for a code, click some kind of "I don't have my device" link, get a text or email with a one time code, and you're in. Disable 2FA, usually it'll ask for your password or make you do the log-in dance one more time, then enable it again. So you're pretty much a-okay.

(It's actually so simple to get around that tricking or bribing cell phone provider employees into sending you a clone of someone's SIM is a whole category of cyber-crime.)

It's totally possible that with the right cable you could use your phone over HDMI, usually without having to press a "share screen" notification or anything (in my experience.) Depending on what it supports, this could give it a second lease on life. With an HDMI/USB dongle you could have it plugged into a TV and control it from the couch, as a sort of ersatz smart TV. But... from what I can tell this seems less likely with a Motorola. If you post a specific model you'll probably get a pretty quick yes/no to whether a USB to HDMI cable will do you any good.
posted by OMGTehAwsome at 7:27 AM on October 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The broken phone is a Motorola Moto Z Play Droid.
posted by msbrauer at 7:35 AM on October 14, 2020

Response by poster: I do have a chromecast, but in my experience that requires pushing something on the screen to get it started.
posted by msbrauer at 7:39 AM on October 14, 2020

Do you have Google Assistant turned on on the water phone? Does it work? Can you try something like, "Hey Google, cast my screen to [insert name of your chromecast]" Or some other way the Google Assistant can help.

I just purchased a usb-c to hdmi cable for my cell phone and Chromebook to display on my TV. I am quite sure you can find either a usb-c to HDMI cable or a usb-mini or whatever the port on the phone is to hdmi.
posted by AugustWest at 8:32 AM on October 14, 2020

Also, when I wipe my phone and start again or flash a new rom, it gives me the opportunity during setup of the new phone or clean phone to "clone" another device if nfc is turned on that phone. You put them next to each other and viola after a few emails asking if this is ok. That might work when your dry phone arrives.

That copies passwords, logins, etc.
posted by AugustWest at 8:34 AM on October 14, 2020

scrcpy for "remote" control over USB?

And if you fiddle with Android you can enable network ADB access and scrcpy over Wifi too :)
posted by genpfault at 10:40 AM on October 14, 2020

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