Explained: Samsung’s implementation of the fingerprint sensor on the upcoming Galaxy S5

Yes, you heard it right folks! Today, we are finally confirming that Samsung’s upcoming flagship device, the Galaxy S5, will be equipped with a fingerprint sensor, and not only that but we will also be explaining exactly how Samsung implemented it and what it’s planning to use it for. Huge kudos to our insiders who sent us a plethora of information regarding the Galaxy S5 last week.

Recently, most of the rumours pointed towards the fingerprint sensor being built into the actual display but that’s not the case, because Samsung has implemented the sensor into the Galaxy S5’s home button. Oh, we would also like to confirm that Samsung hasn’t opted for on-screen buttons and is still using physical buttons, like it has been using in the past on all of its flagship devices. The sensor itself works in a swipe manner, which means that you would need to swipe the entire pad of your finger, from base to tip, across the home key to register your fingerprint properly. Also, you would need to keep your finger flat against the home key and swipe at a moderate speed or else it won’t recognise your fingerprint. The fingerprint sensor is sensitive to moisture, as well. So, don’t try to use it with wet fingers because it will, literally, give you an error and tell you to dry your fingers first.

Samsung has implemented the use of fingerprint scanning throughout the operating system. You can register a total of 8 fingerprints and assign each fingerprint a different task or use it as an app shortcut, but at least 1 fingerprint must be used to unlock the device. A new Personal Folder and Private Mode has been developed by Samsung, where you will be able to hide personal apps, widgets, and content you want to keep private. To open and close your Personal Folder and Private Mode, you would need to swipe your registered finger over the home key after tapping on the home key, or you could simply use a different security method, like pattern unlock or security PIN. You will be able to verify your Samsung account using your fingerprint and will also be able to sign into different websites, without needing to enter your username or password ever again.

A few other OEMs, like Apple and HTC, have already implemented fingerprint sensors into their devices but none of their mobile devices use the sensor to its full potential, or like how Samsung is using in its upcoming Samsung Galaxy S5. We at SamMobile have decided not to post any visuals because we want to keep a few surprises for Samsung to reveal at the Samsung UNPACKED 2014 event in Barcelona.

Update: We forgot to mention, the Galaxy S5 will show real-time image of your fingerprint on the display as you swipe your finger over the sensor.

Phones 36
Related newsLatest news
  1. You say no other company uses it how Samsung is using it, but what you explained was exactly how other companies are using it. If they do take full throttle of it, then I guess we will have to see come launch day because it’s the same how Apple uses theirs. Unlock, password, secure, and so on.

    • Apple uses it to unlock device and confirm App Store/iTunes purchases, as far as I know. Also, in our opinion Samsung’s swipe method is better and secure.

      • Motorola Atrix used it in logins as well.

      • I’m wondering if Samsung was able to increase the reliability/accuracy of their swipe sensor vs. the competition, as swipe sensors are known to be unreliable. This is proven even recently with the HTC One Max which also had a swipe sensor.

      • Hmmmm….Doesn’t sound new to me! My Hp laptop DV6 (2012) model also has a swipe-in fingerprint scanner. You can use it to login into your laptop and create app shortcuts out of it.

        Nothing new at all…

      • How do you know that this is more secure? It seems that with all the things Samsung is trying to do, it’s likely less secure.

        Also, swipe methods have shown themselves to be less reliable over the years, unless Samsung has come up with a much better method from the company they recently bought, though it may be too soon for that. A serious question is how they are protecting the cover of the home button. Apple uses sapphire. What are they using? A major reason for swipe unreliability is that the sensor gets easily scratched from the swiping. The smallest bit of dirt causes a scratch.

  2. Sad to hear that it’s a swipe sensor, as they’ve been known to be unreliable, slow, and generally inferior to the type of sensor that Apple is using with the iPhone. Maybe Samsung has figured out a way to make it more accurate, but I’m not expecting much since swipe sensors have been used before in the Motorola Atrix and HTC One Max — both receiving reviews of low accuracy rates and poor reliability when using their respective swipe sensors.

  3. I hope there’s something more in the S5 than the scanner. Even with Apple’s scanner, it didn’t convince me to stir away from my dual sim note 3.

  4. *steer, damn this dish I’m cooking lol!

  5. No problem with the swipe sensor choice – quality has improved much since the Atrix and Korean Pantech also have swipe sensors in their recent released phones that receive much better reviews than the somewhat reliable HTC.

    And with Samsung being a major shareholder in Pantech – they would have all the chances in the world to gain in-depth knowledge of how the swipe sensor should work.


    • That sounds more like a ” I’m keeping my fingers crossed and really, really hope I’m right” kind of a comment.

      Can you link us to a review of a Pantec swipe enabled phone that has gotten such good reviews?

  6. Why a physical home button again? That’s just getting old. Just saying!

    • Why not? They have used the physical home button for years and its served them well, personally I don’t want to waste .25″ of screen space for virtual buttons.

      • FIY, it’s outdated! Gosh not even the GS4′s physical button has changed from the GS3′s one.

        Hoping that the standard model comes with the physical button and the premium without it.

        • *FYI

        • i think the physical button is classic. there is going to be something classic with every manufacturer, same with a removable battery, i would love Samsung to stick to it till the end of time.

    • “Why a physical home button again? ”

      Apple hasn’t got rid of the physical button yet.

  7. this is kinda disappointing i really hoped s5 will have tons of new things but still they are copying Apple and even falling behind seriously a swipe sensor so for me till now it isn’t worth updating from my gs4 to gs5 :(

    • Just keep an eye on SamMobile, there will be a plethora of epic features on the GS5.

      I can tell you that the GS5 will be the most Epic phone out there.

    • How are they copying apple? Apple copied Motorola and HTC copied Motorola and now Samsung copied Motorola in terms of a Smartphone using a fingerprint scanner. So it has nothing to do with apple.

      • And people saying Apple copied Motorola, Please tell me where is Motorola’s phone ? Did that changed the game ? No that was just another feature But when Apple gave it, It became the most wanted thing ! Also Let me just remind you Was iPod the first music player? NO! Was iPhone the first SmartPhone? NO! Was iPad the first Tablet? NO! Was Mac the first HomeComputer? NO! The point is whenever Apple gives anything is becomes the most wanted thing and everyone else follows. I don’t see any other company having the same effect !

      • Not quite. Almost the entire sales surge from Samsung’s smartphone business has been enabled by copying Apple. Fingerprint sensors were given up a while ago on phones, except for a small manufacturer, here and there, with little success. It’s Apple that brought it back in a big way. And of course, Samsung has to copy that, again.

        The Motorola sensor was a major failure. It never worked well, and then they would just die. Nobody cared about it at all. How many people cared about even knew about it? Not many.The HTC came out after Apple’s, and it terrible. It’s right under the lens, on the back. You need to swipe down, over the lens, to get it to work. And you have to unlock the phone first. How absurd is that? It’s gotten horrible reviews.

  8. For me it’s nice to hear that physical buttons are still present. And the fact that my fingerprint will be shown on the display is pretty cool. Looking forward to Unpacked 2014

    • With the onscreen fingerprint image you will at least know you are getting the read on your fingerprint unlike the iphone 5s which is hit or mostly miss.

      • Actually no. The iPhone tells you that it worked. It also takes a fraction of a second, and the phone unlocks. So it’s pretty obvious it’s worked. It’s also very reliable. Read the reviews. We’ll just have to wait to see how good this one will be.

  9. I hope physical buttons have been change as Samsung made it for tabs : multi in place of menu.

    @MartinR : can’t wait to read all informations you received.

  10. I like Samsung’s interpretation of the swipe scanner for the S5. It seems to do more than what Apple’s touch ID does and that it shows a real-time image of the fingerprint on the screen. My only issue is what would happen if you try to unlock your device using the scanner on a flat surface. The device will just move around resulting in an inaccurate scan unless you stabilize the device with the rest of your hand while scanning. This depends in the kind of surface the device lays on. I hope Samsung addressed this in R&D. Other than that I really look forward to the S5.

    Btw, im digging the new design for the website. A little slow at the moment but I’m sure you guys will work it out in the next few days.

    • I’m curious as to what purpose showing the fingerprint has other than eye candy. If it’s accurate, then you have to hope no one is looking over your shoulder taking a pic of the screen. I also hope it doesn’t save the print data as other scanners do (Motorola, etc), but rather a mathematical representation as iOS does in a secure portion of the new ARM chip.

      • Thats definately a valid point that I didn’t think of. I think the reason having it is to show you if it picked up an accurate scan or not but if its not secure then why have it? I guess we’ll have to wait ’til next week to see how its implemented.

  11. I have old Sony SZ notebook with finger swipe sensor. It recognizes my finger very well. Never had any problem with it. Even, with dirty fingers it works good enough.
    Thus, i don’t expect real difficulty from S5′s sensor.

  12. This move from Samsung Proves that Samsung lack innovation and is just a followers like everyone else. When Apple gave TouchID it became the most wanted feature and appreciated Like-wise. And people saying Apple copied Motorola, Please tell me where is Motorola’s phone ? Did that changed the game ? No that was just another feature But when Apple gave it, It became the most wanted thing ! Also Let me just remind you Was iPod the first music player? NO! Was iPhone the first SmartPhone? NO! Was iPad the first Tablet? NO! Was Mac the first HomeComputer? NO! The point is whenever Apple gives anything is becomes the most wanted thing and everyone else follows. I don’t see any other company having the same effect !

  13. Equally interesting to the matching performance of the swipe sensor on this phone is whether or not Samsung has elected to include some form of spoof mitigation or fake finger detection. If not, the new phone will likely be hacked in a matter of days, if not hours. And this would be unfortunate since solutions to this sort of vulnerability are readily available. Google “fingerprint liveness detection.”

  14. with this feature i think android going to be fully spy in you
    a new permission in playstore going to be ( this app can accesses your fingerprint ) which means this app can identified your phone number and identity )
    this app can ( use your fingerprint to add or remove files )
    this apps can ( use your fingerprint to access your location )
    this not from samsung either from sammobile – its just what i think in future cause the future not going to be safe at all :( :(

  15. So if your fingerprint is displayed on-screen as you swipe, then the fingerprint image is in memory. Contrast this with Apple’s implementation where the fingerprint image is nonexistent within the phone, only the hash of the fingerprint data (which cannot be “un”hashed back into a fingerprint). There was a burst of outrage about having fingerprint data in your phone for security reasons until people learned how Apple was storing it (in the Secure Enclave within the processor chip and not available in the phone’s memory). Wonder how this is going to pan out.

Leave a Reply