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Samsung is patching that Galaxy S10 fingerprint sensor flaw, but here’s what to do now

The smartphone can be fooled into unlocking for anyone's fingerprint if it has a certain kind of screen protector

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While fingerprint sensors are designed to add a layer of security to smartphones, the one embedded in the Samsung S10 is not doing its job When a clear silicone protector is layered on top of the smartphone, it can, in some reported cases, confuse the underlying reader and unlock to anyone's fingerprint who touches the sensor.

The S10 launched in March 2019 at a sticker price of $899.99 and with what was then-called an ultrasonic fingerprint reader system underneath the glass. Instead of using light to read the fingerprint, the S10 makes use of AI to actually measure the patterns, ridges and elements that are unique to each person's fingertip. Apple's Touch ID, for example, uses capacitive touch, which reads the subepidermal layers of the skin, and then creates a "mathematical representation."

Samsung Galaxy S10 Smartphones on Sale Here

With Samsung's reader, the scanner can sometimes run into issues, as the company itself notes on its support page. There, Samsung tells users that the if a finger is "too wet or too dry," a fingerprint may not be read, and also cautions users not to damage or scratch the reader itself.


Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphones in different sizes Users can take off their screen protectors from their Galaxy S10 if concerned about the fingerprint sensor until Samsung issues a fixGearBrain

Some brands are walking away from fingerprint readers completely in their smartphones, like Google with its new Pixel 4, just unveiled this week, which has ditched the fingerprint sensor in return for new facial recognition. But even that kind of biometric sensor has been fooled by fakery. When Apple launched the iPhone X in 2017, the then-new facial recognition feature called Face ID was fooled with just some paper eyes and olives.

Patch coming

Samsung has now admitted that the fingerprint sensor may have some quirks when used with some screen protectors. The company told the BBC that it "will soon issue a software patch." But that statement, which doesn't offer a timeline, does little to protect users who have come to rely on the tool to lock and unlock their smartphone, and protect the data that the device holds inside.

In the meantime, users who have noticed that the fingerprint scanner on their S10 smartphone may not be working as it should, can choose to remove the existing screen protector from their phone while they wait for Samsung to push out a fix.

Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility checker to see the other compatible products that work with Samsung SmartThings.

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