How to Unlock a Sliding Glass Door from the Outside

How to Unlock a Sliding Glass Door from the Outside?

Sliding glass doors are a beautiful addition to the house, but sometimes they can get stuck, jammed, or won’t open from the outside. This issue can happen at any time, even when you’re outside.

Fortunately, there are different methods you can try to force the sliding Door and gain access back into the house.

Before learning how to unlock a sliding glass door from the outside, it’s essential to understand how these doors work.

Most sliding glass doors feature a standard lock mechanism with a small bracket that locks the Door via a hook. This system may be easy to bypass if you have a pry bar or screwdriver available.

Have your tools ready? Then let’s find out how to unlock these doors!

Unlocking a Sliding Glass Door from the Outside

Prying an Exterior Mounted Sliding Glass Door

Exterior mounted sliding glass doors are easy to open with a pry bar or screwdriver. Here’s how you do it:

  • Place the pry bar or the screwdriver in the middle of the frame and the exterior Door, approximately 6 inches from the slider’s bottom corner. It should be in a diagonal position to the latch.
  • When you feel it’s secure, pry the Door up, and tilt the Door to lower down the latch. This process will get the Door released from the lock.

These guidelines will only work if the latch has a pivot facing upward. If it faces upward, you’ll have to apply more force and either pivot or bend the latch to get the Door off the lock.

The Door Won’t Come Loose Even after Prying It with a Lot of Force — What Can I Do?

If the sliding patio door is stubborn, try wiggling it to get the bracket and latch release. Keep in mind that this process can mess up the latch or the frame, or both. Therefore, you may need to replace parts of the locked Door afterward.

Prying an Interior Mounted Sliding Glass Door

Accessing the slider on an interior-mounted sliding glass door is tricky because it’s inside the house, which you can’t directly access if you’re outside. Thus, you must try a different approach than just prying off the lock of interior doors.

  • Start by checking the fixed panel and look where it ends at the bottom corners and top track. Afterward, find whatever is holding the panel in place, which could be either bumpers, brackets, or screws.

At this point, all you have to do is use a screwdriver to remove the holders and set the Door loose.

This process will allow you to grab the stationary panel and slide it open. If you can’t do it because the Door remains tight, try prying and lifting it. Make sure to do this step simultaneously up until the sliding glass door budges.

  • When you detach the panel from the frame, tilt it slightly towards you to get it off the bottom track. Now, start pulling it down to separate the panel from the upper track.
  • If you’re still having problems detaching the panel, place a flat head screwdriver or a pry bar right between the Door’s lower section and the track. Then, start prying it upward to remove the Door from the track.

Using a Flat Head Screwdriver on a Jammed Door

If the sliding Door gets jammed for whatever reason, one way to unlock it is by using a flat head screwdriver. Grab the screwdriver, and make sure no rods are stopping the sliding doors on its track.

  • Start by putting the screwdriver between the bottom of the jammed panel and the track.
  • Hold the screwdriver with one hand, and use the other hand to grab the sliding glass door handle. Then, lift the panel and slide it back. Do this step simultaneously to get the panel back on track.

Unlocking an Old Sliding Glass Door

You may have to opportunity to unlock a sliding glass door using your hands if the Door has been in place for years.

  • Put your feet in a steady position, and use your hands to lift and drop the Door a couple of times using enough pressure. If it works, the sliding door lock will fail and allow you to slide the Door open to get into the house.

Keep in mind that this method only works with old-style locks. Modern locks have anti-lift features that won’t allow you to get the sliding glass door off the tracks with ease. 

Unlocking a Keyed Lock

Unfortunately, unlocking a key lock is nearly impossible if you don’t have any experience as a lockpicker. The only way around this issue is to get a lock-picking kit and practice. It will take some time and plenty of effort, but chances are you will master it eventually.

This solution is not practical because it may not even work depending on the sliding glass door lock type.

Plus, even if you try it, it’s probably going to take a significant amount of time to break into the strict internal locking systems. It might be easier to unlock the Door using a rock to break the lock.


How to Protect the Sliding Glass Door from Outsiders?

As you can see, unlocking a sliding glass door from the outside is possible and straightforward if it doesn’t have proper locking mechanisms. Put these tips into practice to lock a sliding glass door and protect your home from break-ins.

  • Place a wooden stick between the fixed panel’s upper section and the track to prevent anyone from lifting the panel.
  • Use a broom handle to secure the bottom door track from the inside. This method is effective, but it may not prevent someone from lifting the Door.
  • Install a mortise lock cylinder. This type of lock requires drilling into the door frame to mount it, but it’s an easy DIY project anyone can do. Use this method to avoid pry attempts.
  • Set up a safety film to keep sharp objects from penetrating the glass. This accessory is excellent to drive burglars away once they realize that they cannot force their way inside.


Learning how to unlock a sliding glass door from the outside can save you from spending the night under the stars.

If you want to avoid these potential scenarios, try installing a door lock that opens from outside. Keyed locks and spring-loaded locks work from both sides, giving you access into or out of the house.

To keep unwanted visitors away, secure the locked sliding glass door with a security bar once you’re inside. This way, everyone at home will feel safe, and you won’t have to go to extreme measures to unlock a sliding glass door.

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