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Unlock with your fingerprint

If your Pixel or Nexus phone has a fingerprint sensor, you can use your fingerprint to unlock your phone, authorize purchases, and unlock certain apps.

Note: Some of these steps work only on Android 8.0 and up. Learn how to check your Android version.

Get started with fingerprints

About fingerprint security

We strongly recommend locking your screen to help protect your phone. Your fingerprint sensor gives you a convenient unlocking option.

But there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • A fingerprint can be less secure than a strong PIN, pattern, or password.
  • A copy of your fingerprint could be used to unlock your phone. You leave fingerprints on many things you touch, including your phone.
  • You'll be asked to add a backup PIN, pattern, or password. Remember your backup, because you'll need to use it sometimes, like after restarting your phone, or if your fingerprint isn't recognized.

Where your fingerprint data is stored

Your fingerprint data is stored securely and never leaves your device. Your data is not shared with Google or apps on your device. Learn more about how fingerprint data is secured.

Set up your first fingerprint
  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings app.
  2. Tap Security & Location.
  3. Tap Pixel Imprint or Nexus Imprint.
  4. Follow the on-screen steps. If you don't already have a screen lock, you'll be asked to add a backup PIN, pattern, or password.
  5. Scan your first fingerprint. Tips:
    • Put your finger on your device's sensor (not its screen).
    • Hold your phone as you'd normally hold it when unlocking. For example, hold your phone with its screen facing you.
Add more fingerprints

In case you'll want to use other fingers to unlock your phone, you can add up to 5 fingerprints.

Keep in mind that anyone whose fingerprints you add will be able to unlock your device and authorize purchases with your account.

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings app.
  2. Tap Security & Location.
  3. Tap Pixel Imprint or Nexus Imprint.
  4. Scan your current fingerprint or use your backup PIN, pattern, or password.
  5. Tap Add fingerprint.
  6. Scan another fingerprint.
  7. To tell your fingerprints apart, rename them. Tap the current name, type a new name, and tap OK.

Note: If other people share your device, they should add their fingerprints from inside their own profiles. Learn about user and guest profiles.

Use your fingerprint

Unlock your device

Usually, use your fingerprint

After you've set up your fingerprint, put your finger on your phone's fingerprint sensor until your phone unlocks.

Tip: On some devices, first press the power button to wake the screen.

Sometimes, use your backup method

For security, you'll unlock with your backup PIN, pattern, or password after:

  • Your fingerprint isn't recognized after a few tries
  • You restart (reboot) your phone
  • You switch to a different user
  • More than 48 hours have passed since you last unlocked using your backup method
Authorize payments or unlock apps

You can use your fingerprint to authorize payments or unlock certain apps. If available, you'll see a message asking you to scan your fingerprint.

Note: Your fingerprint information isn't shared with the app.

Manage fingerprint settings

Edit your fingerprints

You can remove, rename, and replace fingerprints:

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings app.
  2. Tap Security & Location.
  3. Tap Pixel Imprint or Nexus Imprint.
  4. Scan your current fingerprint or use your backup screen lock method.
  5. Make the change you want.
    • To add a new fingerprint, tap Add fingerprint.
    • To delete a fingerprint, tap an existing fingerprint and then Delete.
    • To rename a fingerprint, tap an existing fingerprint, type a new name, and tap OK.
Stop using fingerprints

If you don't want to use fingerprints anymore, you can delete your fingerprints. You can set them up again at any time.

Option 1: Use only PIN, pattern, or password to unlock

If you'd like to use only your backup screen lock method, instead of your fingerprint:

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings app.
  2. Tap Security & Location.
  3. Tap Pixel Imprint or Nexus Imprint.
  4. Scan your fingerprint or use your PIN, pattern, or password.
  5. Tap the name of a fingerprint and then Delete. Repeat for all fingerprints.

Option 2: Remove screen lock device protection

We strongly recommend continuing to lock your screen for security. But if you'd rather not use a fingerprint, PIN, pattern, password, or automatic unlock:

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings app.

  2. Tap Security & Location and then Screen lock.
  3. Pick None or Swipe.

Important: Picking "None" or "Swipe" for your screen lock deletes your fingerprints.

Troubleshoot fingerprint use

Fingerprint not accepted

If your fingerprint wasn't accepted:

After you get back into your device, you can make your fingerprint more likely to be accepted:

  1. Edit your fingerprints. Learn how.
  2. Be careful to hold your phone in the same way that you normally hold it when unlocking. For example, hold your phone with its screen facing you.
  3. Add up to 5 fingerprints, in case a finger gets injured.
Screen lock option disabled

You can see a "Screen lock option disabled" message on the fingerprint settings page.

This means that your device administrator requires a different screen lock method. For example, if you have a work account on your phone, your work can require you to use a PIN, pattern, or password.

You can still use your fingerprint to authorize payments and unlock certain apps.

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Amy

Amy is an Android expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback below about the page.

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