What lock methods can I use on my Samsung Galaxy device?

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When something matters to you, you protect it at all costs. That's why Samsung devices are built with defense-grade security from the chip up, ensuring that your data and device is secure from the moment it leaves the box. To make unlocking your phone easier there are multiple lock methods that you can use, including fingerprint recognition, patterns and PINs. 

 

The range of available lock methods will differ depending on the specific device that you're using. Choose your preferred lock method from those supported on your device.

 

Find out more about regional and network locks or get some help unlocking your device.

Where can I change my lock method?

The location of the lock screen settings will depend on the specific device you are using. On the latest devices you can find these settings at Settings Lock screen Screen lock type

How to find and change your lock method

On older devices you can find the lock screen settings at Settings Lock screen and security OR Settings Lock screen Screen lock

SwipeClick to Expand

The swipe unlock method sets your device to unlock with a swipe across the screen. This is the lowest level of security available and some features will be disabled as a result.

 

Some apps, such as banking apps, require greater security to function and biometric information such as fingerprint and face scans will be unavailable if this unlock method is selected.

1 Tap Swipe
Tap Swipe
2 When your phone is locked, tap the screen or press the power or side key
Tap the screen or press the power/side key
3 Swipe the screen in any direction to unlock your device
Swipe in any direction to unlock your device
NoneClick to Expand

Setting your screen lock type as none means that you only have to tap on the screen or press the side or power key to unlock your device. This is the lowest level of security available and some features will be disabled as a result.


Some apps, such as banking apps, require greater security to function and biometric information such as fingerprint and face scans will be unavailable if this unlock method is selected.

1 Tap None
Tap None
2 When your device is locked, tap the screen or press the power or side key to unlock it
Tap the screen or press the power/side key
PatternClick to Expand

Pattern unlock allows you to unlock your device by drawing a pattern onto the screen. The pattern is drawn by connecting a series of at least four dots on a 3X3 grid without lifting off the screen. Once a dot has been used once, it cannot be used again. 

 

This security type offers medium protection and can be used alongside banking apps and biometric information.

1 Tap Pattern
Tap Pattern
2 Draw the unlock pattern that you want to use
Draw the pattern you would like to use
3 Once you are happy with your pattern, tap Continue
Tap Continue
4 Draw your pattern again to confirm it
Draw your pattern again
5 Tap confirm
Tap Confirm
6 When your device is locked, tap the screen or press the power or side key
Tap the screen or press the power/side key
7 Draw your pattern to unlock your device
Draw your pattern to unlock the device
PINClick to Expand

With PIN unlock you can use a series of numbers to lock your device. This lock method requires you to use between 4 and 16 digits and depending on your specific PIN offers medium to high protection. PIN unlocks can be used alongisde mobile banking apps and biometric information.

Please note: it is not recommended to use the same digit multiple times or a series of ascending and descending numbers. For example, 0000 and 1234 offer low protection

1 Tap PIN
Tap PIN
2 Enter the PIN that you want to use
Enter a PIN
3 When unlocking with a PIN, you can choose to confirm your PIN by tapping OK or have your device automatically unlock when it detects the correct PIN. Tap Confirm PIN without tapping OK to have your device automatically unlock
Tap confirm PIN without tapping OK to have your device automatically unlock when a correct PIN is entered
4 Tap Continue or Done to confirm
Tap Continue or Done to confirm
5 Enter your PIN again
Enter your PIN again
6 If you selected Confirm PIN without tapping OK, your PIN will be set up. If not, tap OK or Done
Tap OK or Done
7 When your device is locked, tap the screen or press the power or side key
Tap the screen or press the power/side key
8 Enter your PIN
Enter your PIN
9 If you selected Confirm PIN without tapping OK, your device will unlock automatically. If not, tap OK
Tap OK to unlock your device
PasswordClick to Expand

Password locks use a combination of characters to provide a high security lock for your device. Passwords must be between 4 and 16 characters and must contain at least one letter. You can choose to include symbols and numbers to make your password even more secure. Password locks can be used alongside mobile banking apps and biometric information.

1 Tap Password
Tap Password
2 Enter your password
Enter your password
3 If you would like to check what you have entered, tap the view icon
Tap the view icon to check your password
4 Tap Continue or Done
Tap Continue or Done
5 Enter your password again to confirm it
Enter your password again
6 Tap OK or Done
Tap OK or Done
7 When your device is locked, tap the screen or press the power or side key
Tap the screen or press the power/side key
8 Enter your password
Enter your password
9 Tap the view icon to check your password
Tap the view icon to check what you have entered
10 Tap Done to unlock your device
Tap Done to unlock your device
FingerprintClick to Expand

Fingerprint recognition uses the unique characteristics of your fingerprint to unlock your device. This method is both highly secure and highly convenient as you only need to hold your finger against your device to unlock it.

 

To use fingerprint recognition to unlock your device you will need to set up a backup lock method such as a PIN, pattern or password. This is for additional security and will be asked for in specific circumstances, such as when the device is restarted.  

 

If you are having trouble unlocking your device with your fingerprint, find out how to troubleshoot this issue.

1 Before setting up fingerprint recognition, your device must have an additional lock method. Make sure that you have a pattern, PIN or password method set up
2 Tap Fingerprints
Tap Fingerprints
3 Place your finger on the sensor, then lift it off when you feel a vibration
Place your finger on the sensor, removing it when your device vibrates
4 Place your finger back on the sensor, then lift it off again when the device vibrates
Place your finger back on the sensor, once again removing it when the device vibrates
5 Repeat this process, moving your fingerprint around slightly until until prompted to Get a full scan. This will happen when your fingerprint is around 80% registered
Repeat this, until you reach 80% and are prompted to get a full scan
6 Tap Continue
Tap continue
7 Place the edge of your fingertip on the sensor, removing it when the device vibrates
Place the edge of your fingerprint on the sensor, removing it when your device vibrates
8 Repeat this process, moving your fingerprint around until your fingerprint is added
Repeat until your fingerprint has been added
9 Tap Add to register another fingerprint
Tap Add to register another fingerprint
10 Tap Done to finish adding fingerprints
Tap done when you are finished adding fingerprints
11 When your device is locked, tap the screen or press the power or side key
Tap the screen or press the power/side key
12 Place the fingerprint that you registered onto the sensor to unlock your device
Place your registered finger on the sensor to unlock your device
FaceClick to Expand

Facial recognition uses the contours of your face to recognise you and unlock your device. Once your face has been registered, all you need to do is look at your device and it will unlock. While this unlock method is incredibly convinient, it is recommended that you use the fingerprint lock if you wish to prioritise security.

 

To use facial recognition to unlock your device you will need to set up a backup lock method such as a PIN, pattern or password. This is for additional security and will be asked for in specific circumstances, such as when the device is restarted.  

1 Before setting up face unlock, your device must have an additional lock method. Make sure that you have a pattern, PIN or password method set up
2 Tap Face
Tap Face
3 Tap Continue
Tap Continue
4 If you are wearing glasses, tap Yes. If you aren't, tap No

Please note: if you wear glasses most of the time you should put them on before continuing to register your face

If you wear glasses tap yes, if not tap no
5 Tap Continue
Tap Continue
6 Hold the device between 20 - 50 cm away from you, making sure that all of your face is within the box shown on the screen
Hold your device away from you making sure that your face is within the box on screen
7 Hold your device in front of you until your face has been registered. This should only take a few seconds

Once your face has been registered you can adjust some of the settings for face unlock.

8 After your device has been unlocked through face recognition it will typically stay on the lock screen until you swipe. This is to prevent accidental unlocks of your phone. Tap the switch to turn this off and go directly to the home screen
Tap the switch to go straight to your home screen after your device has been unlocked
9 Tap Done to confirm your choice
Tap Done to confirm your choice
10 By default, faster recognition is enabled. Faster recognition makes unlocking your device faster and can recognise you with your eyes closed but reduces security. Tap the switch if you would like to turn this feature off
Tap the switch to turn faster recognition off
11 By default, your screen will brighten when trying to recognise your face. This makes it easier to unlock your phone in the dark. Tap the switch if you wish to turn this feature off
Tap the switch to turn the brighten screen feature off
12 Tap OK to confirm your choices
Tap OK to confirm your choices
13 When your device is locked, tap the screen or press the power or side key
Tap the screen or press the home/side key
14 A light will circle the front facing camera, indicating that it is looking for a face

Please note: if your device does not find a recognised face within the first few seconds, it will stop looking. You can tap the screen or press the power or side key to try again

A light will circle the front facing camera to show it is looking for a recognised face
15 Once your face has been recognised a padlock icon will appear and unlock. Depending on the settings you have chosen, your device will then unlock automatically or you can swipe the screen to unlock it
Once your device in unlocked a padlock icon will appear on the screen
IrisClick to Expand

Please note: iris scan is only possilbe on S8, S9, Note 8 and Note 9  devices. If you don't own one of these devices you will be unable to use the iris scan feature as it is not supported by your hardware

Iris scan captures the unique characteristics of your irises to create a lock for your device. Once your irises have been registered you will only need to look at your phone for it to recognise you and unlock. For the iris scanner to work effectively you will need to keep your device around 20-35 centimetres from your face.

 

To use the iris scanner to unlock your device you will need to set up a backup lock method such as a PIN, pattern or password. This is for additional security and will be asked for in specific circumstances, such as when the device is restarted. 

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1 Open the Settings app
Tap Settings
2 Tap Lock screen and security
Tap Lock screen and security
3 Tap Iris Scanner
Tap Iris Scanner
4 Tap Continue
Tap CONTINUE
5 If you haven't already, you will be asked to set a secure screen lock method. This could be a pattern, PIN or password
Set up a secure screen lock
6 Read the disclaimer, then tap OK
Read the disclaimer, then tap OK
7 For the best results you should be indoors, away from direct sunlight and not wearing contacts or glasses. Tap CONTINUE
Tap CONTINUE

Follow the on-screen instruction to finish registering your irises. 

 

If you wish to remove your iris scans, return to the Iris Scanner settings page and tap Remove iris data. This option will only be available if iris scans have already been registered.

Intelligent scanClick to Expand

Please note: the intelligent scan feature is only available on Galaxy S9 and Note 9 devices

Intelligent Scan uses a combination of iris scans and face recognition for added convenience and security. Intelligent scan works well even in conditions where there is low or very bright light.

 

To enable the intelligent scan feature you will need to set up a backup lock method such as a PIN, pattern or password. This is for additional security and will be asked for in specific circumstances, such as when the device is restarted. 

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1 Open the Settings app
2 Tap Lock screen and security
3 Tap Intelligent Scan
4 Follow the on-screen instructions to register scans of your face and irises

If you're experiencing unusual behaviour on Samsung mobiles, tablets or wearables, you can send us an error report or ask us a question in the Samsung Members app.

 

This allows us to take a closer look at what is happening. The data is anonymised and only held for the duration of the investigation. Find out more about sending an error report through the Samsung Members app.

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