Smartphones provide many authentication techniques to protect your device from privacy violations. Authentication methods have evolved so much that you can nowadays lock or unlock your device just by using your fingerprints. You don’t need to remember and enter any PIN, password, or pattern every time you unlock the phone.
It is frustrating when you see such a handy tool not working! There might be a range of causes why your fingerprint sensors are not working. Troubleshooting this issue is not a big deal. You can start fixing the issue with something as simple as cleaning your fingers to resetting your device.
This article will discuss the various fixes you can apply when your fingerprint sensor is not working.
Ways to Fix When Your Fingerprint Is Not Working
Fingerprint sensors can sometimes not respond, respond slowly, or malfunction. Your device may also show “An error has occurred with fingerprint sensor” errors when there is an issue. It can either be a fault on your end, or there might be an issue with the software/hardware itself.
Whatever the cause, I will guide you through a list of fixes you can apply to fix it. Let’s dive straight into it!
Make Your Fingers Clean
Cleaning your fingers is the first fix you must try. Hands are the most mobile part of your body, and they are the ones that quickly catch dirt and smudges.
Your fingers must be clean before you can use fingerprint sensors. Washing your hands and drying them can help solve the problem. If not, try wiping your hands with a tissue. Too dry, too wet, or oily hands are also bad for fingerprint sensors. Keep your hands moisturized.
Tip: You can add additional fingerprints from your fingerprint settings. Most of the devices allow you to add between 3 to 5 fingerprints. It will facilitate you using alternate fingers if your only one or two fingers are dirty.
Place Your Fingers Properly on the Sensor
Once your hands are clean, things can still go wrong. You might take off your finger too quickly from the sensor or wrongly place it over. Place the tip of your finger such that the entire sensor is covered. Don’t hurry to take your fingers off.
Tip: You can set up an alternate authentication method if you cannot use your fingerprint. You can use a password, PIN, or pattern lock as an alternative.
Clean the Sensor
Even the sensors can catch dirt and other foreign particles. Since you are handling the electronics, you should be very careful while cleaning the sensors. Never try to clean it with a wet cloth or any other liquids. You may end up damaging it.
Take a dry piece of cloth or a cotton swab. Run it gently over the sensors, and it must solve your problem. However, if you have in-display fingerprint sensors, you can clean them with a damped piece of cloth using Isopropyl alcohol.
Increase the Touch Sensitivity
Most of the devices now come with an in-display fingerprint sensor. If you are using screen protectors, it may lower the capability of fingerprint recognition of the sensors. To solve this issue, you can increase your screen’s touch sensitivity. For this you can follow these steps:
- Go to your phone Settings
- Select Display
- Toggle on Touch Sensitivity.
You can notice the difference once you turn this on.
Remove the Tempered Glass/screen Protector
If you have an in-display fingerprint scanner, the screen protectors can sometimes interfere with the fingerprint sensor and cause the issue. Make sure the protector is installed properly. Likewise, your screen may not support a certain type of protector. In that case, you need to remove or replace it with a new one.
Remove the Phone Casing
If your device has a rear-mounted or side-mounted fingerprint sensor, your phone casing may be causing the issue. If the casing does not fit in your device, it covers the periphery of the sensors, preventing it from effectively recognizing the fingerprint. Check it and if it is the case, make sure you use a phone cover that perfectly fits your device.
Check if Your Screen Is Damaged or Scratched
Devices with in-display fingerprint scanners are more prone to damage. A malfunctioning touchscreen or scratched screen can not read the fingerprint properly. Check if your faulty screen is causing the issue.
Restart the Device
Restarting the device solves the problem most of the time. It helps solve the issues like bugs in the software, and temporary glitches, and refresh the process with the issue in your fingerprint drivers. Give it a shot.
Re-add the Fingerprint
Sometimes you may get injuries or bruises on your fingers. In such a case, the sensor may not recognize the fingerprint. Try other fingerprints if you have added them, or use a password/PIN to unlock your device and add other fingerprints for your convenience. For this follow the steps below:
- Open your phone Settings
- Tap on Biometrics and Security > Fingerprints
- Enter your current password or PIN.
- Tap on Add Fingerprint
You can also check added fingerprints to see if the sensor is recognizing them properly or not.
Update Your Software
Any pending updates on your device can cause an issue with fingerprint sensors. There may be an update available for the fingerprint driver in the software updates. If software-related bugs are causing the issue, updating will help.
Clean Your Cache Partition
It is also possible that any temporary or residual files on your device may interfere with your fingerprint sensor. You can wipe your cache partition and see if it works. Follow these steps to clear the cache partition on your device:
- Power off your device.
- Boot into the system recovery mode (Normally done by pressing the Volume Up+Side key on most Android devices. Else, you need to find it.)
- Navigate to wipe cache partition option and select it.
It will wipe cached data, if any, and restart your device. Check if it works.
Reset Your Device
It is the last software fix you can apply if any of the above fixes do not work. Resetting will restore factory settings on your device, and your fingerprint will again start working if software-related issues were causing it. Do not forget to keep a backup of your files before resetting your device. You can either use an external SD card or computer for it.
For resetting your device,
- Go to Settings
- Tap on General management > Reset
- Select Factory data reset
- Tap on Reset.
After your phone reboots successfully, add the fingerprint and see if it works.
Get Your Fingerprint Sensors Repaired
If any of the fixes mentioned above did not work, your fingerprint sensor might have a hardware issue. Please take it to the authorized repair center and repair it. Do not attempt to repair it yourself if you don’t have much idea about the hardware. If you are still in the warranty period of your device, you can get it repaired for free.