Does the Galaxy S10 and S20 fingerprint sensor work with screen protectors?

Using the fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S10
(Image credit: Android Central)

Best answer: Yes, the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S20's under-screen fingerprint sensor should work with any screen protector, glass or plastic. But if you want to use a tempered glass protector, you should aim to buy one that's certified by Samsung or verified to work with in-display fingerprint sensors.

How to find the right tempered glass screen protector

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The Samsung Galaxy S10 next to the Galaxy S10 Plus

(Image credit: Android Central)

The Samsung Galaxy S10 and S20 series both have a fingerprint sensor sitting beneath the display that allows you to unlock your phone by placing your thumb on the screen. This is a convenience over having to reach around the back where Samsung had previously placed its fingerprint sensor. As cool as this new biometric unlocking system is, it can also cause issues if you use certain screen protectors.

You shouldn't use any old screen protector for the Galaxy S10.

The exact technology in play is Qualcomm's ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, which uses sound pressure waves to read the 3D surface area of your finger, giving you a more technologically convenient and secure biometric security option than the previous scanner.

However, those sound waves can cause some big problems when it comes to tempered glass screen protectors because if there are any gaps between your screen protector and your display, the ultrasonic waves can't get an accurate reading. Although your regular tempered glass screen protector appears to be in direct contact with the display, the adhesive used to keep it all together creates a gap that is just thin enough to throw off the ultrasonic scanner.

This issue, it would seem, has been addressed by most makers of tempered glass screen accessories, including the amFilm Ultra Glass Screen Protector that uses similar technology as found with our previous top recommendation, the Whitestone Dome Glass.

If you like the feel and protection of tempered glass, just make sure that the screen protector you're choosing has been proven to work with the fingerprint sensor. Screen protector companies know that this is something people are looking for, and will explicitly test and certify that their product works.

You still have options beyond tempered glass

Using the Galaxy S10's fingerprint scanner

(Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

However, let's say you really don't want to shell out for a tempered glass screen protector. There are still viable options for protecting your phone's screen without affecting the usefulness of the fingerprint sensor.

We've got a roundup of the best screen protectors for the Galaxy S10 and best screen protectors for the Galaxy S20, which include both tempered glass and film, so you shouldn't be scared off of going with the screen protector that's right for you and your budget. Our top pick for film screen protectors for the Galaxy S20 comes from ArmorSuit, and for the Galaxy S10 is this 3-pack of LK HD Screen Protectors. Both bring great value for protecting your phone's screen as long as you take the time during the installation process.

Quentyn Kennemer