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The best way to set up your fingerprint on the Galaxy S7

For the most part, setting up and using the fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S7 is exactly as easy as it's supposed to be. You go through the 13-part process of recording your finger on the sensor, and in exchange you get the ability to unlock your phone quickly and use your fingerprint as your password wherever it is supported.

As long as you're down with using your fingerprint like this, it's one of the best setups available today. That is, as long as you set it up correctly.

For those who have never set up a fingerprint sensor, or those who have only ever set up a Nexus fingerprint sensor, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when setting up most fingerprint sensors.

The set up process is effectively an exercise in taking as many photos of your finger as possible in order to create a complete picture. This way you can put that finger on the sensor in just about any way you want, and as long as the picture taken when you're unlocking the phone lines up with the complete picture in some way, the phone unlocks. For round sensors like the one on the Nexus phones, it's easy to grab the whole print during setup. Like its predecessors, the Galaxy S7 has an oval sensor, and that means you have to be a little more deliberate during setup.

Fingerprint setup

When setting up a fingerprint on the Galaxy S7, it's important to remember to grab at least two pictures of your thumb going across the sensor diagonally. If all you do is move your thumb from top to bottom or from left to right, it's easy to create gaps in that complete picture. Adding a couple of diagonal captures during setup decreases the chances of this happening, which in turn makes your failure rate significantly lower when unlocking the phone every day.

The oval shape of the Galaxy S7 home button is the real key here. As long as you remember during fingerprint setup that the fingerprint being stored is the result of 13 different presses on the sensor, each capturing a long strip of your thumb and not much else, it becomes a lot easier to deal with. You won't be pressing your finger onto the Galaxy S7's home button the same exact way every time you unlock it, so don't put it on there the same way every time when you're registering it in the first place.

It's also important to remember that you can delete a fingerprint at any time and re-capture that finger if you aren't happy with the results — if you rushed through setup when you first got the phone, it may be worth re-entering your fingers now.

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

59 Comments
  • I know this may sound weird but I can't figure out how to get my fingerprint to unlock the phone more often than 15 minutes no matter what I set it to It ultimately ends up back at 15 minutes Posted via the Android Central App
  • Are you going under secure lock settings? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yep. I set it.... It works.... Then it doesn't Posted via the Android Central App
  • Honestly, the fingerprint scanner is the thing that annoys me the most on the S7. The bloody thing is temperamental as hell and no matter how many times and different ways I register the fingerprint, the success rate is of around 70%. If Samsung hadn't take away the double tap to wake (damn you!) I would have already disabled the fingerprint scanner.
  • Can't you just hit the home button and not use fingerprint authentication? Posted via S7 edge
  • I'm not accustomed to have physical home buttons on phones. I haven't had one since the Nokia 5800. I am accustomed to double tap and unlock the phone. Even with the fingerprint scanner I often double tap the screen before putting my thumb on the button (which is in a terrible place for accessibility). But since the S7 doesn't have double-tap to wake, I see no reason to disable the fingerprint. If I have to go through the hassle of pressing the home button anyway, I might as well use the fingerprint scanner.
  • All you do is bittch, gripe and complain. You really should work on that Posted via the Android Central App
  • All you do is post useless comments to nurture that strange obsession you have with me. There are doctors who can help you, kid. Don't give up.
  • You're a moron Posted via the Android Central App
  • So are you Posted via the Android Central App
  • He's just outlining his experience. How is that b***hing and moaning?
  • I've got to say,it definitely comes across as complaining just for the sake of complaining.You already know these things,so don't buy the phone.It's like buying a g5 and complaining it's modular or buying an m10 and complaining about the screen size. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well, he was remarking his experience with the fingerprint sensor, and in his case, it wasn't rosy.
  • If you haven't noticed already, he does a lot of complaining on here. He's always crying about one thing or another whether it's material design, some OEM's hardware, or whatever the hell else. He's one of those trashy Euro's with a shittty attitude. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well, to me, he is entitled to his own personal thoughts and opinion. Could he have said it in a less hostile manner? Absolutely. Do you really have to agree with everything he says? No. Posted via the Android Central App
  • And you're one of those 'murican redneck idiots without any valid points or anything useful to ever add to any conversation who just spends his life commenting on other people's opinions without having one of your own. So s*ck it up. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I was also referring to his complaints about it not having "knock on", which seems to be a big deal for him.That is something he would definitely know prior to purchase.I think all phones should have " knock on/off".I loved it on my g3,but I knew the S7edge didn't have it.So it really wouldn't make a lot of sense for me to complain about it after purchase,as though they took something away. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well, I'm not sure if you know Linus Sebastian, but I'll quote him on the Z5 Compact when it replaced the 2014 Droid Turbo as his new daily driver. "There are some things I'm going to miss about my old daily driver. Taking the downgrades that come with our upgrades is one of the crosses that we Android people have to bear.." Basically trading the gestures and Moto Peek for IP68 certification and a smaller size. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Actually no, I didn't know it wouldn't have (or rather, I didn't know I wouldn't be able to actually at least put it back). Why? Several reasons.
    1st - I never ever bought Samsung phones before as I never liked Samsung. This is an opportunity I'm giving their hardware.
    2nd - I pre-ordered the phone and even got it before release date. Which means there was no comprehensive list anywhere about what the phone could or couldn't do.
    3rd - I had in hands a G4 which spent 3 weeks at LG because the motherboard died after 3 months of use. I needed another phone quickly. You do a purchase as best informed as you can, but often you simply can't have all the info on time. Also, I've had double tap to wake on phones since Nokia came up with it. Which means for years. Every single flagship I had had it. So as you may imagine, it's something I wouldn't expect a 2016 flagship from Samsung to lack.
    Is it enough for me to return the phone? No.
    Is it annoying as hell not to have it? Yes.
    Would I remove the fingerprint scanner in favour of double tap to wake if I could? Absolutely.
    Will I make sure double tap is available next time I buy a flagship? Yes. Posted via the Android Central App
  • More like buying a G5 and complaining that the module keeps falling out, or buying an m10 and complaining that the screen flickers. The sensor should simply work or it's a hindrance.
  • The sensor does simply work. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm also very used to wake up the phone using double tap. Nokia has spoiled us lol.
    In fact, all my phones had double tap to wake after the Nokia Lumia 925 (except the Moto X Classic, which didn't actually need it because of Active Display).
  • I've been fairly successful if my hands are dry. If I wear gloves and my hands get wet or if my thumb gets dirty, the sensor doesn't work for me. One of my co-workers said to use the tip of my thumb, that seems to be a bit more reliable. That and to have a pattern etc. as the main unlock, with the fingerprint as a backup. I almost didn't get back into my phone using the fingerprint only method. Not really a good idea to have only one method to unlock your phone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You setup a pin backup as default with the fingerprint scanner. There's always a backup since the fingerprint isn't 100%.
  • Works great on mine. Press once and lightly touch the home key.
  • i'm sorry if this sounds cold, but how can some of you screw up something as straight forward and simple as this. it really is not rocket science. i have setup over twenty s7's and s7 edge's, and the easiest thing I have had to do with them, is help them to setup their fingerprints. and several of my customers are geriatrics, with the shakes. so come on man...! why do so many people make something so easy sound like your taking the mcats????
  • Setting up your fingerprints isn't the problem, it's the low accuracy of the S7 fingerprint reader compared to others like the iPhone 6S or Nexus 6P, which work instantly and 99% of the time. The Note 5 and S7 Edge I've owned have maybe a 70% success rate. I've tried setting up the same finger twice, one horizontally and one vertically, which helped, and the normal once with different positions, nothing improves it to anywhere close to as accurate as the 6P was.
  • 70%?I think you need a new finger.99%+ on mine.I guess I'm just lucky. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I also have no problems, can't really think of any fails since I've had it.... Posted via the Android Central App
  • yeah, again, not trying to sound like a dick, but you guys are forcing my hand. i have had my s7 edge since early may, and it has NEVER, ever missed my fingerprint. not one single time. so, i would bet my life that you did something really screwed up while setting it up. and even that is almost impossible, and i'll tell you why. i caught a little note from some forum after i already setup my first couple of devices, and here is what it was. when setting up a single finger, i NOW swipe three different fingers on each single finger setup, so that i can use more fingers than is said to be allowed. so i swiped three different fingers on each setup, so that i have the freedom to use all of my fingers, to open my device. and they all work, every time. i have never had a miss, because i was careful to include alllllll the areas of my fingers when setting them up, and not just one little section. the galaxy fingerprint scanner is better than the iphone scanner, where i had problems early and often. so you need to either learn how to do the setup properly, or you have screwed up fingers.
  • lol Screwed up fingers... :) Maybe I'm the only one that gets wrinkles on my finger prints when my fingers get wet or dirty... Hah, maybe I'm just older than the lot of you... loss of collagen in the skin...? Things do tend to change with the environment. That's all I'm saying. If my prints are clean I usually don't have a problem. This last set of fingerprints I saved do seem to work better. And yes I tried to get all angles. 7 Edge. :) Posted via the Android Central App
  • Don't go for angles, made that mistake with the note 5 just go for surface area. The phone can sort out the angles and does a great job of it. in my time with my s7 edge it has never missed my print. This article is also misleading, as it is the exact same way i did it when i first got my note 5. After numerous ROM changes I figured out the best way to do it.
  • Clean the cheeto dust off your fingers and it works much better.
  • No, it is not better than the iPhone scanner. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I am also very disappointed with the fingerprint sensor on my s7 edge. Most of the times it fails and I have to place the finger again, very carefully and for long. 3 out of 10 times I have to enter password. But RARELY, when it even does unlock the device after removing the finger quickly, it does so with a lag. It is like a 1 second delay between pressing the button and home screen opening up. That's processing time, which is not explained even with the screwed-up-fingers theory.
  • I'm not taking about the process of adding the fingerprint, just the accuracy rate. I'm not having a good experience with it. Sue me. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I just got my s7 edge yesterday and the fingerprint scanner is driving me crazy! I did buy this off of eBay so maybe I got screwed but if I don't put my finger just the right way it won't unlock. Posted via Android Central App on 1+1
  • Completely agree. I came from the 6P, and that fingerprint sensor was flawless.
  • if you are still under your 14 day return period I would take it back. Mine works 99.99% of the time.
    I think it failed once since having the phone and I basically half missed the button, so it was more my fault than the sensor.
  • We have 2 years of legal warranty on the phone. But I can't pin it down to a hardware problem. Just to a not so great fingerprint reader in a very bad place (which I believe is the main responsible for it since it doesn't fit at all with the way I use and hold the phone). As for returning it, I've had the phone for over a month now and apart from the accuracy rate of the scanner, it works perfectly. So I don't really have any reason to return it (and worse, I've no other good phone to replace it with at least until the end of the year anyway.) Posted via the Android Central App
  • the fingerprint scanner works perfectly fine. you just have to understand how to set it up. scan the sides of your finger, the top and the bottom half. change the angles so that the scanner gets all information. if you do this, you will get 99-100% all the time. the only time my scanner has ever not opened my phone, is on the rare occasion i don't put most of my finger on it. the scanner can only successfully scan the information you have given it. too many people scan one little part of their finger, and then get pissed when it doesn't automatically know the rest of the finger when they ultimately place their finger on the scanner different than they scanned. it's moronic!!!! and would be insecure if it accepted what you didn't give it in the first place. it's a classic case of operator error.
  • I dont have an issue with success rate. Works 99‰of the time that it required it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Works 99% for me too. Definitely not as quick as the Nexus 6P reader, but not far off either. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Geez. Not as fast as the Nexus? My S7 is fast and with the Good Lock app, it's grease lightning now. How much more fast do ya want? lol As for the accuracy of the scanner on the S7, I can claim that it is absolutely, 100%, ACCURATE! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I love mine, rarely let's me down. It takes seconds to pick up phone, press home button, remove thumb and lightly touch again and presto! Ergonomic and intuitive. And if my thumb is damp then it comes up with the pattern which also takes a second..
  • I know you left this comment 7 months ago, but you do know that you can just press the home button and leave the finger there until it unlocks right?
  • Oddly, when I tried the Good Lock app from Samsung, the fingerprint reader seemed to be faster and more accurate.
  • Likely thanks to that lock screen loading faster when you press home to wake it up
  • It doesn't work consistently enough on my Note 4. Works great on my S7 edge. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Works great for me.Fingerprint aside,if the home button is just too horribly located to reach,click the freaking power button.If someone is going to whine about it that much,it seems they would just use a different phone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • easily switch from any android phones to galaxy s7 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5tH-pCfMSU
  • So.... this is my first phone with a scanner... Owned it almost 4 weeks...never thought about using different angles. Hell I didn't even think to use my other hand until 2 weeks ago lol Posted via the Android Central App and my Galaxy S7
  • I tried it on my dad’s 2016 A5, which has the same sensor from the S6 and Note 5. Previously, it was kinda iffy. It failed to recognize my finger at times and it takes some time in certain cases. I removed my old fingerprint from the phone and had it relearn my print, but changing the angle of my finger between scans on the scanner in order to get the phone to learn as much of my finger as possible. Net result is that the scanner is able to recognize my finger much more accurately than before with a higher chance of success and is also slightly quicker in doing so. Definitely doing the same thing when I get the Note 6 or S7 edge. (I live by 3 words. fastboot flashing unlock)
  • I have setup my fingerprint and it works quiet good. But for some reason when i use an "OK Google" command from the lock screen and tell it to search or open an app it easily surpasses the lock... Posted via the Android Central App
  • You have allowed OK Google to function from the lock screen,it gives you a prompt and a warning before allowing this.Go into your Google settings and rescind this permission. Posted via the Android Central App
  • My S7 works flawlessly, but my S6 didn't. For those having problems, you can input the same fingerprint multiple times. Then, on the fingerprints screen, if you touch the button, the fingerprint that matches will light up. You can see which one lights up more often and delete the rest. By repeating this process you can eventually have achieve very good success rate.
  • I was not aware of "Then, on the fingerprints screen, if you touch the button, the fingerprint that matches will light up".
    Thanks!
  • this is my first phone with fingerprint scanning. I have no issues with the setup. it worked fine for me and unlocks pretty fast
  • My last phone with a fingerprint reader was a Motorola Atrix 4G. I thought it was normal to have to swipe a fingerprint 3-4 times to get it to work. Although now with the legal implications I am not sure I will allow a fingerprint to unlock my phone. In the US the police can make you to use your fingerprint to unlock your phone but they can't make you use a password/pin/pattern. Fingerprints are physical characteristics, passwords are not. I may allow a fingerprint to unlock applications and passwords once I'm in but not on the initial unlock.