No, the Galaxy Note 8’s face recognition can’t be fooled by a photo

Last week, a video started making the rounds online claiming that the Galaxy Note 8’s face recognition feature can be fooled by a photograph—and guess what? It can’t. Seriously. We tried it for ourselves and weren’t able to generate the same result.

Here’s why it worked in the clip: When a smartphone is on display in a brick-and-mortar store it’s running something called Retail Mode, which makes it easy to trial all the different features on board a handset without having to configure them.

The main reason retailers use the often-outdated software is to prevent people from maliciously—or accidentally—locking a demo unit to their face, rendering it useless for all other potential customers wanting to play around with it that day.

We replicated all of the steps outlined in the video and even tried using a flat photograph, but to no avail. Each time, our Galaxy Note 8 displayed an alert saying that it was unable to detect a face, instructing us to try again.

While we can’t offer up an explanation as to why some news outlets were able to trick their handset with an image, we can honestly say that we weren’t. We’ve reached out to Samsung for an explanation and will update this post if/when we hear back.


Sign in »

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Hey Josh, I’m the guy who posted the original video in question. I’d love to see video of your tests so I can share it.

Martin R.
Martin R.


Martin here.
I tested this on my S8+ also, and that did not work too. Why should it work on a Note 8 then?
You were in a shop with DEMO mode activated, this is to show everyone how the feature looks like on the phone.
How can the use actual security in DEMO mode? Every face needs to be registered for it to work. Let alone the chance that the phone can’t be opened anymore as someone’s face is still registered.

Logical thinking that is.



Hey Martin, I don’t deny that the Note 8 was a demo unit at a retail store. I purposely kept the security cable, retail store setting, demo audio, and even another shopper walking around, in my video to make that clear. (Although in retrospect, I now wish I put the word “demo” in my tweet to make it even clearer.) I also heard a while back that the S8 was able to be spoofed with a photo so I decided to try it on the Note 8. My expectation was that if it was a problem in the S8, Samsung… Read more »


Hi, I read your post. Everything I’m about to say about your test of that demo phone is all under the assumption that we are completely ignoring the fact that ANY “test” or “experiment” that’s done without using the scientific method is not only inconclusive, but also irrelevant as any results would just be random chance and therefore useless. That being said… I understand what you are trying to say, however you seem to have misunderstood the concept of “demo/retail/store mode”. It is a community device that doesn’t belong to anyone, yet is meant to be used by everyone… it’s… Read more »


Please add a new article regarding Samsung’s UI fluidity problem needs fixing – Note 8


There’s an option called ‘Fast Recognition’