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Lock Blog

A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals

How To Unlock A Door Without A Keyhole

by Ralph November 29, 2021

At first, it may seem overwhelming to figure out how to unlock a door without a keyhole. The whole concept may appear on its face as impossible. However, there are several readily available options for how to open a locked door without a keyhole.

Learn more about how to unlock a door without a keyhole with the following methods:

  1. Credit Card
  2. Pinhole Bypass
  3. Under The Doorway
  4. Alternative Access
  5. Locksmith


How do you normally unlock a door without a keyhole?

Door locks without keyholes may be privacy locks, keypad door locks, or keyless smart locks. Privacy locks are meant to only open and lock from the interior side of the door. Smart locks and keypad locks can be opened without a key using a combination, app, token, etc.

Can you unlock a door with a pinhole from the outside?

The most common way to unlock a door with a pinhole is to find a tool to fit the small opening. With an unwound paper clip or bobby pin, you should be able to reach through the pinhole and manipulate the lock actuator (often pressing in or pushing down).

Which lock without a keyhole is simplest to unlock?

Privacy door locks are probably the least complicated lock without a keyhole. In terms of how to open a locked door without a keyhole, hopefully, you are dealing with this style of interior locks, which is most often used on bathroom and bedroom doors.

What do you need to unlock a locked door without a keyhole?

If you want to know how to unlock a door without a keyhole, make sure you have the right or have been given the right to open the lock by the property owner. Then determine your door lock type, choose an opening procedure, and gather your tools.

How To Unlock A Privacy Door Lock Without A Keyhole

Jump to a solution:

A privacy door lock is what most people are contending with when they look for how to unlock a door without a keyhole. These are devices used on interior hollow core doors. These locks do not use a keyhole because they are only meant to be locked when someone is inside to unlock.

When the lock is engaged, it suggests that whoever has locked it is inside and does not wish to be disturbed. But in instances where you are locked out of your bathroom or locked out of your bedroom, the door was locked from the inside while it was open, then shut without unlocking.

Lock Examples

  • Bedroom locks
  • Bathroom locks
  • Sliding door latches

How To Unlock A Deadbolt Without A Keyhole

Jump to a solution:

Deadbolts without keyholes are going to be the most difficult to open because they are designed with security in mind. If you are looking into how to open a locked door without a keyhole, in the case of a deadbolt, you will need to call a locksmith or use another door to get inside.

This is not like how to open a locked bathroom door without a keyhole. A deadbolt is designed to provide security. The first step toward burglar proofing doors is often to put a deadbolt on the door. You are not a burglar, but you need to find a way to open the door without following the proper access protocols.

Lock Examples

  • WiFi locks
  • Biometric locks
  • Bluetooth locks
  • Mechanical combination locks

1. Credit Card 

In terms of how to open a locked door without a keyhole, the credit card method is the most universal for privacy locks. It can be performed easiest with the sloping side of the latch bolt facing the exterior side of the door. That way, your plastic card can follow that slope to depress the latch.

How to open a locked door without a keyhole with the credit card uses these basic steps:

  1. Find a disposable length of plastic that is rigid while still having some flexibility.
  2. Slide the plastic between the door and the door jamb.
  3. Work the plastic around any modeling or impediments to be level with the strike plate.
  4. Press in on the latch, riding the slope of the latch bolt.
  5. When you successfully catch the slope, pushing in the card will depress the latch.
  6. With the latch depressed enough to pull out of the strike plate, push the door open.
  7. Attempting this will likely chew up the plastic to the point where the card is unusable.

This works because the latch bolt on privacy locks is spring-loaded, which means any direct manipulation can push it back into the door. Because this is a privacy lock, there is only the illusion of security, and it is not intended to offer substantial protection.

The trouble comes when the latch’s slope faces the interior side as the plastic can no longer glide down the slope to depress the latch. In that case:

  1. Cut a hook shape into one side of the plastic card.
  2. With the hook facing down, slide the plastic card above the strike plate.
  3. Slide the card through the gap between the door and jamb, and hook the latch.
  4. Once the latch is hooked, pull the card back out.
  5. This pull should depress the latch enough for the door to be pushed open.

2. Pinhole Bypass 

On some door locks without keyholes, there is still a hole on the exterior handle or knob. This hole is not meant for a key but is designed with how to unlock a door without a keyhole in mind. It is purposefully placed on the device for you to use a key-like device to solve your lockout.

You do not need to know how to pick a lock, but you will need a tool that can fit in the pin hole and manipulate the actuator. The tool must mick the dimensions of an extremely small flathead screwdriver. In order to fit and turn the slot inside the pinhole. You can make this tool by:

  1. Partially unwind a standard paper clip. 
  2. Bend a straight length of the paper clip back over itself.
  3. Using a pair of pliers, press this bend down more to make the tool studier.
  4. Make sure you have enough length to reach the actuator hole in the pinhole.
  5. Check that your bend has created enough flat girth to mimic a flathead screwdriver.

Once you have your tool, your next steps for this method of how to open a locked door without a keyhole are:

  1. Shine a flashlight into the pinhole to see the actuator’s location and orientation.
  2. Reach your tool into the pinhole, feel for the actuator, which should be a slot.
  3. Fit your tool into the slot within the pinhole.
  4. Rotate the tool in both directions to find which way will unlock the door.
  5. Once unlocked, the handle or knob will turn freely.

3. Under The Doorway

When you are replacing an interior door knob, you will see just how many different styles of privacy locks are on the market. In the case of door handles that unlock when turned from the interior side, we have a very specific method for how to open a locked door without a keyhole.

This is not something that applies to how to open a locked door without a keyhole in almost any other circumstance. A door knob that unlocks automatically may be able to be opened this way, but the handle instead of a knob makes the process more straightforward.

First, you need to get the proper tool:

  1. A wire coat hanger or similar long piece of shapeable metal is needed to begin.
  2. The length must allow for two bends.
  3. The first bend provides a length to hold and a length to slip under the doorway.
  4. The length that will slip under the doorway will be bent again with a smaller bend to hook the handle.
  5. With both of these bends, the hook must be able to reach high enough to fall over the handle.

If you cannot make the tool or do not have this type of interior privacy lock, move on to the next section. If how to open a locked door without a keyhole in this way still seems viable, the final steps in this process are:

  1. Slide the hooked end of your tool under the door.
  2. Listen to the impacts and taps the tool makes on the door.
  3. These sounds indicate where the tool is in relation to where you need it to be.
  4. When the tool is lined up with the handle, move the tool up above the handle.
  5. Pulling down with the tool will hook the handle.
  6. Continue pulling with the handle hooked to unlock the door.

4. Alternative Access

When it comes to how to open a locked door without a keyhole, alternative access refers to going around the door and opening it from the inside. Because all privacy locks unlock from the interior side of the door, you just need alternative access to the room’s interior.

These alternative access points do not need to be large enough to fit through. If you can reach through them or even see through to the handle on the interior side of the door, you may be able to make the processes detailed above work a bit smoother.

Alternative access points include:

  1. Windows
  2. Side doors
  3. Pass throughs
  4. Crawlspaces

If you want to know how to unlock a door without a keyhole when it is a deadbolt, you may find this easier than with a privacy lock. The main difference between a deadbolt and a privacy lock is a deadbolt is used on exterior doors.

Alternative access to an exterior door is the same as being locked out of your house. If you can address a lock that does have a keyhole, you will not have to worry about finding out how to unlock a door without a keyhole. This potentially makes the task of opening a door much easier.

5. Call A Locksmith 

Most of the time, you can figure out how to unlock a door without a keyhole when you are dealing with privacy locks. You may still need a locksmith if the door knob turns but won’t open or is broken to the point where it does not open.

Besides how to open a locked bathroom door without a keyhole and how to unlock a bedroom door without a keyhole, a locksmith is almost always needed when you are locked out of an exterior door or deadbolt that has no keyhole. 

Whether you are dealing with a WiFi deadbolt, biometric locks, Bluetooth locks, or keypad door locks, these locks are not going to be opened in any simple way. Instead of getting into the various types of bypassing, decoding, and destructive entry, I would recommend calling a locksmith.

Chances are, the locksmith will need to use some form of destructive entry. But the method of entry is unlikely to be anything as regular as drilling a lock, as there is no cylinder to drill out. If destructive entry is needed, a locksmith will need to figure out what works for your door and lock.

Closing Thoughts

When we talk about how to open a locked door without a keyhole, this is not in reference to doors that are locked without a lock. In this context, we are dealing with door locks such as interior door privacy locks and deadbolts with no keyed lock cylinder.

There are more options for how to open a locked bathroom door without a keyhole than opening a deadbolt with no keyhole. If your deadbolt has no keyed cylinder, chances are you will need a locksmith. For privacy locks, everything we have listed above is potentially at your disposal.

Of course, you can always reach out to a locksmith for any help figuring out how to unlock a door without a keyhole. Check to see if United Locksmith is in your neighborhood. And if you have any questions, concerns, or insights, share them in the comments section below!

Category: Commercial, How To's, Residential

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