Some smartphones are moving away from fingerprints and using facial recognition for biometric security. If you own a Samsung Galaxy phone, you likely can use both fingerprint and face unlock to get into your handset. We’ll show you how it works.

Before we dive in, it’s important to understand that face unlock on Android devices, such as a Samsung Galaxy phone, is not as secure as Apple’s “Face ID.” iPhones are using a variety of sensors to detect faces, whereas Android devices are typically just storing a photo of your face.

So you may not be able to use your face to authenticate mobile payments on an Android device, but it can still be a convenient way to unlock your phone. Let’s do it.

RELATED: Why Face ID Is Much More Secure Than Android's Face Unlock

First, swipe down once from the top of your Samsung Galaxy device’s screen and tap the gear icon.

Next, go to the “Biometrics and Security” section.

biometrics and security section

Select “Face Recognition.”

face recognition

If you already have some sort of security method enabled (PIN, pattern, etc), you’ll be asked to enter that now.

enter pattern lock

You’ll see some introductory information about face recognition. Tap “Continue” to proceed with setting it up.

continue set up

First, you’ll be asked if you wear glasses. Select “Yes” or “No” and tap “Continue.”

do you wear glasses

The next step is to register your face. Hold the camera up until your face is in the frame. It will scan your face very quickly.

face scanning

Once your face has been scanned, you’ll be given the choice to require a swipe on the lock screen even if your face is detected. This is a way to ensure your phone doesn’t immediately go past the lock screen if you don’t want to. Toggle it on or off and tap “Done.”

require swipe to unlock

That’s it for the initial setup! If you’d like, you can tap “Add Alternative Look” to scan your face one more time.

add another face

There are a number of additional options on the “Face Recognition” page as well:

  • Faster Recognition: Enables a quicker unlock that could be more easily fooled.
  • Require Open Eyes: For extra security, eyes must be open to unlock.
  • Brighten Screen: For help in a dark situation, the screen will brighten to scan your face.

more face recognition options

That’s all there is to it! When you wake up the phone, it will now look for your face. When you see the lock icon at the top of the lock screen unlock, you’ll know it was successfully detected.

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Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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