Unlock and Backup iPhone with Broken Touchscreen Using USB Keyboard


New member
Jul 5, 2017
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Hello Team,

Making this thread is my Hail Mary. I need to backup my iPhone with a broken touchscreen. I have gotten pretty close thus far, but I have hit a wall and expect this is the end. Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated and I hope what information I've included will be useful to others in the future.

This link was very helpful to me: https://discussions.apple.com/message/28085966#message28085966

This is the situation:

-I want to retrieve my Notes, Photos, Contacts, and Calendar. Nothing else matters to me.

-Display works, touchscreen is unresponsive

-No recent backups on iCloud

-Siri is unavailable

-I have Wifi, but it is from my other iPhone's hotspot capability which was never used on broken iPhone (i.e. network not saved)

-No workarounds available, must push through using this phone (i.e. no recent iCloud backups, no photo backups on Facebook, no notes saved on PC or in email, etc.)

-I have a PC with iTunes (never before synced with this phone)

-I have the Camera Connection Kit/Lightning-to-USB 3 Camera adapter

My first problem was that I needed to unlock the phone.
I connected the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter and plugged my Insignia wireless keyboard into it. It worked right away. I pressed spacebar to bring up the screen to enter my 4-digit passcode (the Home button on the phone works, too), entered the code using the number pad on the keyboard and the phone unlocked.

The next obstacle was a message that the iPhone hadn't been backed up in x number of weeks (good one, Apple). It took me a while to press Dismiss, but I somehow got it. I was just holding down the Windows button (or Command, if you're on a Mac) and pushing letters (maybe H got it?).

I managed to open Settings by pressing Win+Space to open the search function. I typed in 'Settings' and pressed Enter and the settings page opened. Next, I needed to get to iCloud settings.

I referenced the following link for keyboard mappings (found several others, but none as exhaustive), but discovered that most of them don't work for getting through the Settings menus:


I cannot scroll and I cannot select anything. After pressing Tab, the search bar appeared. I typed in 'iCloud' and pressed Enter, but this time it didn't open.

I want to get to my iCloud settings to start a backup (I am willing to pay for more space). The problem, however, is that I can't scroll down in the settings menu and even if I could, I wouldn't be able to select anything.

I have also tried syncing with iTunes. The Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter also has a Lightning port in it, but when I plug in the cable that is attached to my PC, it only charges the phone and does not allow it to sync (it appears as an Unspecified Device in Control Panel\Hardware and Sound\Devices and Printers).

When I connect the phone directly to the computer (i.e. NOT using the Camera Adapter), a message to Allow Access appears and the phone is detected properly by the PC. Unfortunately, without the Camera Adapter/Keyboard connected, I cannot interact with the phone to give the PC access to it. I am also unsure how I would connect a Bluetooth keyboard to the phone (which would be an acceptable workaround) as I have never connected one before and would have to go through the Settings menu to pair it.

I was thinking that with a Lightning connector port splitter (like [URL="https://www.amazon.com/iPhone-Splitter-Lightning-Adapter-Headphone/dp/B071CQRC6W/ref=redir_mobile_desktop?_encoding=UTF8&%2AVersion%2A=1&%2Aentries%2A=0&tag=hawk-future-20&ascsubtag=UUimUvbUpU2960669]this[/URL]) that can support syncing I could connect both the USB 3 Camera Adapter and the standard Lightning to USB cord (connected to my computer) to the phone. That way I could use my wireless USB keyboard to press "Allow Access" while the phone was also detected by my PC and able to sync. However, even if I was able to do that, the "Don't Allow Access" option is highlighted by default and I don't know how to switch it to the Allow Access option.

I cannot Wifi Sync to iTunes either because the only wifi available at the moment is from using my other phone as a hotspot and that network has never been used on the broken phone (and thus isn't saved, so I'd have to select the network in Settings).

This is where I'm stuck.

At this point, the acceptable outcomes that seem most likely are:
-Keyboard navigate to iCloud settings to start backup
-Sync with itunes after selecting "Allow Access"

Alternatives may include:
-Mirroring iPhone through PC (although I'd have to also be able to turn on AirPlay, which is currently off)
^I think with this option I can use a mouse to select things?

Anything helpful you can suggest would be greatly appreciated.

(Note: If your screen is broken, but the display is NOT working, you can get the combination Lightning to USB/HDMI Adapter. Then just connect to another monitor via HDMI and plug in the USB keyboard. If you have access to Siri, you can say "Voiceover On" and Siri will report to you verbally which app is open.)


Ambassador Team Leader, Senior Moderator
Jan 8, 2012
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Can you not just login to iCloud via a computer to view your pics, Calendar events, reminders, contacts and notes? I assume those items are associated with your iCloud account.

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