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Forget side-mounted fingerprint readers, rear sensors are still a favorite

Google Pixel 5a
(Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • We asked our readers what method they prefer to unlock their phones with.
  • Of the votes, 42% say they prefer rear fingerprint sensors.
  • In-display fingerprint sensors came in second with 27% of votes, followed by face unlock.

There are a few different unlocking methods out there. That's why we asked our readers what they prefer to use to unlock their Android phones in our recent poll. We received more than 9,000 votes, with 42% indicating that they prefer the rear-fingerprint sensor. In-display fingerprint sensors received 27% of the votes, followed by the face unlock method with 16%.

Smartphone unlocking methods, poll responses

(Image credit: Android Central)

While rear fingerprint sensors are the most popular option, not everyone is a fan of their placement, and these days they tend to only be available on the best budget Android phones like the Pixel 5a. Pete Ramsey comments on Facebook that they prefer front readers:

"I hate rear fingerprint readers, I never hold my phone where they think is the ideal, I've never used a side reader, front readers are the best I've used and far better than face unlock."

However, despite the votes, readers were pretty much in agreement that they weren't fans of the in-display sensors on the Pixel 6 series, which have often been marred for being slow and inconsistent. That said, those of you that aren't fans of in-display methods may (or may not) be happy to learn that Samsung may stick with the side-mounted sensor for its next foldable phones.

Some users mention how they prefer face unlock (even though methods on Android phones aren't as secure), and would even consider switching to iPhone for it.

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Fortunately, mask mandates are letting up in many places, making face unlock a bit more of a viable method for those that prefer to use it. On the other hand, plenty of Android devices offer more than one way to unlock your device using biometrics, so you can easily decide between the fingerprint sensor, face unlock (if available), or just plain-old PINs and patterns.


Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.