Fingerprint recognition-ing when gloved?
April 27, 2020 12:51 PM   Subscribe

I previously helped my father set up fingerprint recognition on his Moto E4 Plus (Android 7.7.1). He told me today that he is able to unlock his phone using fingerprint recognition even when he has latex gloves on. Is this a flaw? Is there something else/a different feature he can pursue to assure the security of his phone? What gives?
posted by mcbeth to Technology (4 answers total)
Its not a flaw that it works through latex gloves. Its a function of what technology they are using to "scan" the fingerprint, different technologies work differently and may be more or less glove friendly.

What security is he trying to achieve that scans with gloves on are to be rejected?

Have him test the scanner with other peoples fingers or his own non registered fingers if he wants to test the security.

He can use a pin instead of a fingerprint.
posted by TheAdamist at 1:14 PM on April 27, 2020 [2 favorites]

Most fingerprint scanners are capacitance based, which many latex gloves and the like will work with. It's the same technology that almost all current production phone screens use.
posted by Candleman at 1:15 PM on April 27, 2020 [2 favorites]

It's definitely anecdotal, but I've used two phones that fail every time with nitrile gloves. (I'm a creature of habit, so I constantly try it. Or did until recently when I stopped working in the lab.) This may be an insulting question, but is it possible he also set up face recognition and happens to be looking at the phone? Pressing a glove to the fingerprint reader makes that feature turn on in my current android phone. So does the wrong finger, or the side of a knuckle.

Assuming it actually is reading fingerprints, asking someone else to try turning on his phone - hopefully someone he's already in close contact with - might reassure him.
posted by eotvos at 2:54 PM on April 27, 2020

I couldn't find what type of technology the Moto is using to read fingerprints, but I know my Samsung S10 has a setting to 'turn up' sensitivity to read fingerprints through a scratch protector, so the way Moto's reading the fingerprint may work well enough through the glove.
posted by AzraelBrown at 6:23 AM on April 28, 2020

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