bypassing a lock

Lock Bypassing: The Fast and Simple Way Into a Lock

Lock Bypassing is an extremely common entry technique that can be done by anyone with little skill and simple tools. While there are many locks that resist it, there are many that don’t. 

So to learn what lock bypassing is, how to do it, and what you can use to bypass a door lock, padlock, or any other lock, we have all that information for you here.

What is lock bypassing?

Lock bypassing is the act of opening a lock by pushing against the internal components of the lock directly causing it to open, without the use of a key.

Unlike Lock picking, bypassing usually doesn’t need specific tools or skills to be done.

An example of bypassing a lock is what you see in many films where someone uses a credit card, knife, or some other tool to open a door to get access to a locked room.

This technique works on many different locks, including lower security door locks and padlocks.

How do you bypass a lock?

What you need to aim to do is to push in the locking mechanism of the lock that would normally be protected by the object it’s locking or the body of the lock itself.

Low-security locks like internal door locks in houses, cheap padlocks, and cheap bike locks are the most common types of locks that can be bypassed.

How to bypass a Door lock?

What you need to do to bypass a door lock is to use a thin tool, to reach in between the door and the door jam and push aside the locking lug so the door can open. 

Credit cards are usually best for this as they are a good balance of rigidity and flexibility. They are flexible enough to fit through the gap but still rigid enough to push the lock open.

Note: Bypassing only works on locks with spring-loaded locking mechanisms, this is because the method of bypassing pushes against these spring mechanisms to open the lock.

This is why deadbolts and padlocks with ball-bearing locking mechanisms are immune to bypass attacks.

How to bypass a Padlock?

Padlocks can also be bypassed in a similar way to a door lock. You will need either some padlock shims or some flexible plastic to be able to push down in between the shackle of the padlock and the padlock body. 

The gap between the shackle of the padlock and the body of the lock is usually very small so a metal shim or some thin plastic is best. 

Note: Higher security padlocks that use a ball-bearing locking mechanism can not be shimmed as the ball bearings can not be pushed aside.

How to bypass a bike lock?

Some bike locks can be bypassed in exactly the same way as padlocks. But there are a lot of locks out there that do not allow you to bypass them.

Many cheap bike locks can be bypassed with simple tools like the others above. As a simple rule if you can lock the bike lock without the key, by simply pushing the lock together and it will lock into place then it is very likely that it can be bypassed.

Bypassing just takes advantage of this convenience to push aside the locking pin that is spring-loaded to open the lock.

What can you use to bypass a lock?

There are many tools you can use to bypass locks, depending on the type of lock you have and the installation of the lock will determine the best tool to use.

Credit card

This is the most common for door locks and is a great starting tool for anyone wanting to learn how to bypass a lock.

To use a credit card to open a lock you just need to insert the card between the door and jam, then apply pressure to the bolt on the side where the angled face is so that the pressure will depress the bolt until the door opens.


Not as common as a credit card but used in exactly the same way as a credit card, the humble knife can also be used.

Pro Tip: a butter knife will almost always be better than a big hunting knife as it’s more flexible and thinner.

The only downside is it doesn’t look as cool using a butter knife.

Slim Jim

To bypass the door lock on a car you will need a tool called a slim jim. A slim jim is simply a strip of metal that has a hook on one end of it.

To use a slim jim to pass it between the window and the weather seal on the door of a car to catch the locking mechanism inside the door so it can be opened.

Note: A Slim Jim tool is generally only useful on older cars that don’t have protection for this type of bypass.

Padlock shims

A very simple and small tool that can be used on many different types of padlocks. Like many of these other tools for bypassing locks, padlock shims are simply thin pieces of metal that can be used to push open the locking mechanism of a padlock.

To use a padlock shim you just place it around the shackle of the padlock against the body and force it down into the hold where the shackle is secured. This will push the locking mechanism aside and open the lock.

Locks that are resistant to bypassing

While this is a method that can be used easily on many locks there are a number of locks where it will not work at all. 

Doors Locks Resistant to Bypass Attacks

There are some door locks that by the nature of their design can not be bypassed. 


One of the biggest of these is the deadbolt. That is one that can’t be bypassed because the bolt of a deadbolt is square, and is held in place mechanically by the lock so there is no way of bypassing this type of door lock.

history of locks

Door Knobs

Bypass-resistant door knobs do exist and are usually used on the outside of a house whereas the internal doors don’t include this feature as it’s normally not required.

Padlocks Resistant to Shimming

There are a lot of padlocks that are resistant to shimming bypass attacks.

Any padlock that uses a ball-bearing locking mechanism is resistant to this simple attack and there are some easy ways that you can identify these types of padlocks.

  1. It requires the key to lock the padlock. 
  2. You can see the ball bearings in the body of the lock, down in the holes where the shackle goes.
  3. The cutouts on the shackle are circular, not angled.


Bypassing locks is still a very effective technique, especially on locks that are cheap and not well-designed. It is something that most locks designed for medium levels of security are designed to defend against. 

External door locks for your house will be bypass resistant and if they are not you should replace them with ones that are.

I hope this has answered your questions about bypassing locks and will allow you to make some better decisions next time when you are choosing a lock whether it be for your house or a padlock for your shed.

Please comment with any feedback you have and if you found this article helpful please share it with someone that will also get some benefit from it.

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