How to make fingerprint on Android phones more reliable

In comparison to some ancient times (10 years is ancient in terms of smartphone technology advancements), biometrics came a long way. Although face-recognition technologies came a long way, the good old fingerprint scanner is still the most-secure biometric option out there. Moreover, in-screen fingerprint scanners, although nifty, still fall behind capacitive scanners when it comes to responsiveness. Using one or the other, it’s good to know how to make your fingerprint scanner more reliable. Learn how below.

How to improve the fingerprint recognition on Android

To make the fingerprint scanner on your Android device more accurate, enroll one finger multiple times, clean the fingerprint scanner, and ensure that the screen protector (in case you have an under-the-screen reader) is supported.

Also, make sure that your device is always up to date because there are shreds of evidence that fingerprint scanners are not good initially but the recognition gets better over time. This is especially prominent on some Samsung devices.

1. Enroll one finger multiple times

The single best thing you can do to improve fingerprint recognition is to enroll multiple fingerprints of a single finger. This will not only improve the recognition, but you’ll be able to cover more angles with multiple inputs. That way you should be able to unlock your device while, for example, lying flat on the table with the in-screen fingerprint scanner.

Most devices support up to 5 fingerprints (some more, some less). So, ideally, you would enroll two fingers twice. If unaware of how to do so, follow the steps below:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Security.
  3. Tap Fingerprint.
  4. Enter PIN, password, or pattern. If you already have some fingerprints, make sure to remove them.
  5. Tap Add new.
  6. Enroll fingerprints for two preferred fingers twice.

You can also remove fingerprints and add them again. Make sure to press the fingerprint scanner gently and from multiple angles, while holding the device in a way you usually do.

2. Keep the fingerprint scanner clean

This one is important. If you have a back-mounted or side-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor, make sure to wipe it with a wet cloth from time to time. Dirt and grease tend to pile up over it and reduce responsiveness. Make sure to use either alcohol and cloth to clean it.

Once you’ve done it, test the responsiveness. If it’s not satisfying, consider enrolling fingerprint again and it should work better.

3. Check the screen protector

On the other hand, if your device is packing the in-display fingerprint scanner, like many AMOLED devices these days do, check the screen protector. Just a thought, but we suggest never using your device without the screen protector.

Although tempered glass can cause issues with ultrasonic fingerprint readers in Samsung flagship devices, it’s cheaper to invest in a compatible screen protector than to replace a super-expensive broken AMOLED screen.

With that in mind, make sure to check the compatibility of the screen protector before making a purchase. Currently, there are two technologies used to make under-the-display fingerprint readers. The ultrasonic is more precise, more secure, but more expensive (thus less common), and optical sensors are less precise but more common and more affordable to manufacture and implement.

But, in regards to screen protectors, ultrasonic protectors demand special screen protectors while most of the standard tempered glass protectors will work with optical scanners.

Before applying one, clean the screen to remove dirt and small debris, especially in the fingerprint region. Glass-cleaning liquid and cloth should do fine. After that, apply the screen protector carefully so it fits the screen.

4. Update your firmware

Finally, many OEMs push devices with a sub-par hardware optimization so the fingerprint might initially underperform. What you want to do is ensure that all available updates are installed.

If you are unsure how to check for firmware updates, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select System.
  3. Choose System updates.
  4. Check for updates. Install all available updates.

That should do it. What’s your favorite fingerprint scanner method thus far? Tell us in the comments section below. We always look forward to hearing from you.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in January 2021. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.

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