Get a way from Google


So you think YOU own your phone? Think again. You don’t if you have a gmail account linked to it. You think a factory wipe and user data wipe will reset it? Think again. After nearly 4 hours of trying to activate a phone, that after the wipe, requested the last users email address and log in, Thank gooness, I know the previous owner. Google has a security layer built in, where if the phone is factory reset, they don’t care. They’re here to “protect you.” And also offer you no help what so ever. Bottom line, if you factory reset your phone, “If you still can’t get in with the correct Gmail account, waiting 24 hours if you reset your password, then you need to contact the Device Manufacturer for Warranty/Repair options”. Or lay terms, mail your phone to the manufacture and for $90 they’ll wipe it for you to get your phone unbricked. “Don’t forget about the wasted money for shipping too”! Almost any email can be used now a days to sync contacts. For a complete back up there are alternative methods.
I learned of their incompetence a few years back. Relying on your devices to remember your passwords has become common practice. A friend switched phone numbers, and not having a computer, see where this is going? Oh shoot, what’s the password. After going through trying to recover his password, and getting the repeated message of not giving enough information to prove he’s the owner, they pretty much said go climb up a rope. That’s when I took over. I reached out to Google, their community forums, and pretty much got told the same thing. go pound sand. We can’t, or pretty much won’t help you. Make up a new email address. HUH? Seriously? You can’t figure out it’s the same phone, with the same ESN, MAC address, that the account has been linked to for the last how many years? Don’t care. Ok, plan C. I don’t play to lose, ask Affirm! Made a big (/) drink, stepped out side, called his old #, introduced myself, gave her his name, explained what was going on, she was probably getting texts every time he requested the pin code be sent, obviously he’s a little slow, not getting the point he doesn’t have access to retrieve the sent pin code, and asked her to throw me a bone. I said I’m sending a request to have the pin code sent to his old number, which is now your number, this is his last option… I’m desperate, she goes here you go! Bet they didn’t see that one coming! We’re relying too much on programs to take care of us and our information. It wouldn’t be so bad if Google cared, but obviously they don’t. They have no problem locking you out of YOUR phone and not caring. I have no problem running to walmart and picking up 2 sd cards to rotate backing the phone up to. There’s plenty of other programs to find or locate your lost/stolen android phone
That’s just a few. And for those who want to complain some of them are not free, neither is paying the shipping or $90 to send in your phone to the manufacture. Good bye Gmail.


Hi @scottm.cr169r!

Sorry to hear about your situation. That is a measure to prevent people from stealing phones. Without the passcode, they won’t be able to reset it via the Android UI. They then have to reset it via the boot menu. When you reset an Android device on 5.1 or above, it trips the Factory Reset Protection (which won’t let you set it up without the previous user’s password) . I believe you can use a Google account with a non-gmail email, but if the phone had been reset via the boot menu, it would do the exact same thing. For what it’s worth, Apple does something similar with their iPhones.



To be clear Scott, your anger is directed at the wrong place. If you’d like to be angry, please direct it at the California Legislature, in order to sell phones in that state you must adhere to the “kill switch” law and no manufacturer is going to make phones they can’t sell in California. Information here:


Google has had this security feature for some time now. OEM’s however, have not started adhering to it until recently. Your frustration is due to the failure of the seller to follow the steps required before selling a used device to someone else.

On Google devices, like Nexus, Pixel…(especially if they are bought and used on Project Fi) are locked to that users account. They must go in and fully deactivate and remove the device from their Fi account and Google Account, before the device can be sold and used by another user. Also, if they had marked the option in “Find My Device” to lock/wipe phone, they need to undo that. The same needs to be done on non-Google Devices, however, OEM’s (Samsung etc) may have their own software u need to access)

Same issue with iPhones and their 'iCloud" lock tech. iPhones have had this security measure in place for several years. A simple factory reset, even a full on wipe and “Emergency Recovery Flash” via itunes will not bypass this lockout as the second the device connects to wifi, it phones home and sees that its serial and IEMI is locked and in use. (or blacklisted when u report it lost/stolen).

Google now implements their own version of this in modern versions of Android. This does indeed make it much more risky to purchase used Android devices. Especially if they have been used on Project Fi.


What wasn’t adhered to? I gave Scott the phone and it had a broken screen… I was able to factory reset the phone myself. There wasn’t any screen locks, password locks at all. It was a clean phone needing a screen
The account has been off that phone over 4 months now. Please tell me what should I have done more or better. Do I send the phone with milk money and a note from a mother stating the phone is good?


Nope, you bought and paid for the devise, so you need someone else to regulate what happens from there!


Android AOSP is made by Google, and other brands then modify it to suit their needs. Just as Windows is made my Microsoft, and users just have to deal with how each version of it works.

Technology is ever changing and evolving. Security is a huge push the last couple years, especially after the recent data breaches and severe security flaws found in nearly everything.

You have the option to not use Google Services at all. This is most often done on popular supported devices via unlocking the bootloader, rooting, installing custom recovery, then flashing custom roms. Many of them do not come with G.Apps, as that is a separate package to flash. It makes Android much more difficult to use, but it is possible. Side-loading apps is pretty easy to do.

To be blunt…u don’t like they way Google or Apple does things…too bad. Its their product, they are free to do whatever they want to further develop and market their ecosystem. U either deal with it, or do not buy and use their products. Alternatives do exist, but regardless, this is the way tech is going.


Perhaps I misunderstood your original post. (breaking it up into paragraphs would have really helped, btw)

I gathered u had a previously used device that u acquired from another person. That when u tried to add a Google account to it (not the same as activating Cell service via carrier) it would not let u as it said it wanted the previous users account login info. Do i have that correctly?

If that is the case, then the most likely case is that the device was not actually properly removed from the previous users account, as i had stated. (not just reset and set aside). Or the Find My Device was still active. Or, the device was locked as it was still under payment plan when deactivated. Just what comes to my mind.

U said just now, that it had a broken screen Did u replace the screen?. Many devices now a days have hardware level security where if a part is replaced, the device will fail its security check(very simplified description) . It is possible that when u reset the device, this got triggered.

Apple has been doing this for some time now as well, and was in the news not to long ago that an iOS update caused repaired devices to brick, due to using a non-certified Apple part…or something like that.

There is also some other thing that I have heard about where reseting the device causes a lock out of the device. However, I don’t recall enough about that to be sure it may be related to this.

Personally, I have reset many Android devices, new and used. Never had any issues. So its hard to say for certain, what cause your issue. Could have been more than 1 thing.

EDIT: Also, you many “own” the device. But u most certainly do NOT own the software on it. Just like a laptop or desktop computer. U purchase to own the hardware, buy u are also paying for a license to use the software on it. Read the ULA. U would be surprised what u agree to in order to use any operating system.


I just found that R.W. has a very detailed page for Factory Reset.

The section that talks about “Kill Switch” is the important bit. That is the other thing i was thinking of. If you have a lock screen set, it will then require verification after a reset (if u use Recovery mode or from a remote source, like Find My Device). I was not aware of this.

Some of us techy folks, that know Android devices, prefer Recovery mode Reset method as most feel it does a “better” wipe of the data than the normal in OS settings option does.

I seen lots of folks post comments (on other forums i frequent) who bought a used device from somewhere and they can’t get past the initial setup as it asks for previous owners info. This is often because it was Reset via Recovery. Infact, many of those electronics recyclers/refurbers or folks that sell sell via ebay etc most always use the Recovery method to wipe and restore the devices they get as its fast, simple, and universal a process. Especially when the device they get is already locked and they have no way to unlock it to Reset it correctly. They just boot right to Recovery, Reset it, it boots to the first setup screen, and then they list if for sale. I used to work a few years ago at a place that refrubs and resold used phones.


Your misunderstanding, I myself gave this phone to @scottm.cr169r. I factory reset the phone through a hard reset. The screen allowed me that much but to boot up into the original account was pretty much impossible. Scott had replaced the screen then had issues setting up the phone. I had to send him the account and a password to install then add hid wife’s account to the phone. My wife’s account was removed and the phone is active and out of my wife’s account. This strikes me as stupid to jump hoops to activate a legal to use phone. Nothing was stolen, nobody was trying to beat anyone out of Google’s OS. All a simple change of ownership of device. Sometimes Google overthinks the box when not needed.
It would have been better to have Google Email the account to relinquish the account from that phone & not all the Coc n Bull.


By “Hard Reset” do u mean the Recovery Mode method Reset?

I can understand your frustrations.

However, Google has no way to tell that it is legitimate activation and transfer to a new owner, regardless of the circumstances. That is why they have in place a set procedure that has to be done in a certain way and order or else it gets difficult.

Sure, such security and precautions often get in the way and inconvenience the legit owner more often than you would like (DRM in video games is a biggie). But if your phone was in fact lost or stolen, you would be very thankful that your personal info on the device could not be accessed and that the person would not be getting a “free” phone out of it, just by wiping it and activating it. This “lock out” feature is a decent deterrent as it makes theft of modern smartphones far less profitable or desired.

Glad to hear u got things figured out.


That was well written @SpeedingCheetah.

I try to avoid locking my phone, because of stories like this.

Would that be thinking “inside-the-outer-box, or outside-the-inner-box” ?. :stuck_out_tongue:


WHATEVER @c1tobor choose what box floats your boat.:nerd_face::clown_face:


I want to see who flagged it. All of them. Tomorrow is Friday the 13th, we can start now. One two Freddy is coming for you. You going to pull this post to?

I get that you are frustrated that google doesn’t have magical technology that can tell the difference between someone selling a phone without properly resetting it and someone stealing a phone, but my sympathy for you ends completely when you threaten people who are here to help you.


Hi adamm
I would like to re-inform you and this thread. The phone was properly reset. Google stuck their 2 cents into the equation. So get your info straight please. How do I know is because the phone came from me with the broken screen.


Unfortunately this topic has reached the point where any additional comments are taken as personal arguments and attacks, and no new meaningful discussion can take place, so I’m locking it.

Thank you for raising your concerns about Google’s role in the smart-phone ownership experience.