If you've elected for the visual tic tac toe board to protect unauthorized use, and somehow it's been locked because you forgot the code OR someone else tried to break in OR one of you kids was messin with it OR it was in your back pocket and your bottom decided to try to make a call on its own, you may have already found there's no easy solution to unlock the durned thing.
It may be asking for your gmail email and password to unlock, but even if you know this info, it still doesn't work. That's cuz you haven't used your gmail and the phone doesn't recognize it locally on your phone (notice how when you put in that data there's an instant "incorrect data" reply? That's cuz it's not going out, but looking internally for a match.
Sprint may either tell you to buy a new phone (yeah, right) or bring it in and they'll factory clear it (goodbye pictures, goodbye apps, and goodbye anything else you did to personalize).
I do believe I've cobbled out a fix so here goes:
Call your cell phone from your home or some other phone. You'll notice it can still receive inbound calls. Hang up from your house phone and push the home button with great speed over and over again. It may take you several times, but there's a split second where the cellphone screen will still be enabled and you can get to your main screen before the phone disables and goes back to lockout mode.
Once you get to the home screen, go to the settings and disable that durned pattern lock.
Now what you'll find is you've fixed it (kinda). When you get out of the phone and come back, you'll find you see that same locked out screen, however when you slide open the keyboard, voila! The phone unlocks and becomes functional again. You can now use the phone as always, provided you can live with this strange process each time, and that you in fact have no security. If you want to get rid of this oddity, and really set it up as it was prior to being locked out, then you have one more step to do:
First you do need to know your gmail email address and password. If you dont know it, I would suggest going to gmail on your computer and going through the arduous task of recovering this information. All I can say is trust your gut. FYI, the typical gmail protocol is firstname.lastname@example.org. Notice there's NO period (dot) between first and lastname.
Let's now assume you know this data. What you'll then want to do is go to the gmail icon on your phone, and send an email to some other email account. Now go back to the trusty pc, and access your gmail account ON THE PC. Go to the sent email box, and hit "reply to all" and send an email back. I am not a techie, but I believe this process somehow makes your phone locally register the gmail account.
Go back to your tunred off cell phone, open the keyboard BEFORE you turn on the phone, and then hit the red phone turn-on key. With the keyboard already extended, the phone will turn on with the gmail and password entry screen. Thus you will now be able to type in your gmail address and password. Hopefully you get another big VOILA as now it asks you for a new unlock pattern, which this time you WILL remember. You'll do it one more time to confirm it matches the first, and now you have a phone working perfectly as before.
Folks, it took me almost three his-and-miss hours to figure this process out, so I would appreciate it if you would do two things for me:
1) Please send $10 to your favorite charity (pay it forward!), or if not charitably inclined, then at least feedback and confirm this worked for you.
2) If I've missed something or need to amend, lemme know so all can save a bit of time as well as not have such sore foreheads from banging against a wall or other hard object.
Best of luck to you all.
YOU NEED TO WORK FOR SPRINT TECHNICAL SUPPORT. THEY ARE NO HELP WHEN IT COMES TO THIS MATTER. THEY PUT YOU ON HOLD FOREVER AND WHEN THEY COME BACK ONLINE ALL THEY CAN SAY YOU NEED TO GO TO A REPAIR CENTER AND HAVE YOUR PHONE RESET. SOME PEOPLE LIVE A GREAT DISTANCE TO HAVE TO DO THAT. THEY DON'T EVEN TRY ANY OPTIONS OVER THE PHONE. ONCE AGAI THANK YOU. KAREN
BEN you're the best! I was freaking out when I got off the phone with sprint. I would say you need to work for sprint but you're way to smart for them! I will gladly pay it forward!