After the release and disclosure of her second album, Here We Go Again, in the second half of 2009, Lovato was dedicated to her acting career, with recordings for the series and movies Sonny with a Chance and Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam and their soundtracks. Therefore, recording the first track on this album was made only in July 2010 with producer Dapo Torimiro.
That same month, the singer gave an interview to MTV, in which she said she was "creating a new sound," it would be "fun. A little more R&B/pop." Later, in conversation with AHN, quoted Rihanna and Keri Hilson as influences. At the time, she revealed she planned to work in no hurry on this album, stating that "Every other album I haven’t had time to really take my time and craft it like I really wanted to do because I was finding spare time between a television show, and movies, and touring, and then all over again. I’ve worked on (the album) for the past year and really gone hard over the past few months, but you can definitely tell that I took my time with this record."
In August 2010, Demi entered in the Camp Rock World Tour 2010 to release the movie Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam. In November, she left the tour due to personal problems and was admitted to a clinic for three months. During this time, the recordings were interrupted. Some time after leaving the clinic, the singer returned to work on the album, in April 2011, it was reported that she was also working with producers/songwriters Sandy Vee and August Rigo. Later that month, was announced that she would leave Sonny with a Chance, in which she portrayed Sonny Munroe, the main character. She left the show because she wanted to focus on her music career more than acting.
In July 2011, Demi described the album as "more mature" than their previous sound and more fun and light than her first single, "Skyscraper", while other tracks are more intense. On August 11th, 2011, Demi used her Twitter account and Facebook page to announce the title of her album (Unbroken).
In August 2011, Lovato explained the song "All Night Long" which features Missy Elliott and Timbaland is actually the polar opposite of "Skyscraper" and said it is about "staying up all night long and singing it to the boy that you like, and it's flirty and fun and it's not too grown-up, but it's grown-up enough."
Victorious star Ariana Grande sang the third track of the album, "You're My Only Shorty" alongside Iyaz on her 18th birthday. And, a studio demo version by Grande was leaked online.