I left my phone on the roof of my car and drove away on a busy road. It was hit several times and the screen is broken/shattered and glass comes off of it. It receives calls/text messages, and the button on the top to turn on/off still works. The screen is just in such bad shape that it won't register the touch of my finger. I have an appt with Genius bar in a few hours to get a new phone. I want to save all my pictures and apps off this phone if possible (I never backed up on the computer prior to this) but it prompts me to unlock my phone and I can't do it. I can't use another iPhone as a guide, because it won't even recognize my finger touching the screen, but the phone still works. Can I get some ideas on how to back it up? I am not tech savvy and this is a difficult problem!

  • Did you set iCloud backups? Those should happen automatically. Mar 15, 2013 at 21:28
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    I know this is an extremely unlikely 'long shot' but if you have ever used a Bluetooth keyboard with your iPhone, you should be able to unlock your iPhone using that. However, that requires that you have previously paired the iPhone with a keyboard and that Bluetooth was turned on when the phone was damaged.
    – TJ Luoma
    Sep 6, 2013 at 2:18
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    Did anything ever come of your visit to the genius bar? I've edited the comment from TJ and the possibility to use VoiceOver to navigate if any part of the digitizer still works just in case you could use those to get it unlocked and get a backup from iTunes the "normal" way.
    – bmike
    May 8, 2014 at 12:54

3 Answers 3


How about PhoneView (http://www.ecamm.com/mac/phoneview/). Although its not a true backup of your iPhone at least you can get all the important stuff off of it.

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    The latest macOS download of this app is just a zip file with an empty folder in it. Nov 30, 2017 at 18:01

Total Bummer about your phone. The genius appointment will cover where you might have your backups, but unless you can connect it to a computer that it has already synced, you will need a functioning keyboard-like input device to unlock the phone and make a backup to a new computer whether you use iTunes or a third party tool like Phone View.

Here are your options:

  • repair the digitizer and back up once the device lets you tap in the unlock code
  • use a bluetooth keyboard (one that was already paired) to enter the pin
  • use VoiceOver (triple tap the home button could enable that) to enter the pin

Both the VoiceOver and bluetooth options need the digitizer to set them up the first time, so if you didn't already do that before the failure, you may have to choose between a fixed phone and attempting your backup. (Just like backups are only good if they are done before the device fails or is lost).

You could also just look in iTunes preferences to see which devices are already backing up to your computer or log into iCloud on another device and see if and when the broken phone last backed up to iCloud.


You may try to perform a backup of your device in DFU mode using Wondershare Dr.Fone. DFU mode is usually used to connected your device to iTunes in order to repair it due to software problems. You will find full tutorial in the link I provided.

Personally, I have never tried this app however backing up under DFU mode is really the only way that comes to my mind.

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    Dr.fone does not work with iphones that have cracked LCD and require passcode to unlock the device
    – user75214
    Apr 9, 2014 at 0:56

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