Samsung has acknowledged the fingerprint sensor issue on the Galaxy S10 and the Galaxy S10 Plus smartphones and has said that it will soon roll out an update to fix the problem. These devices from the Galaxy S10 Series were the first ones to use the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor that has been developed by American chipmaker Qualcomm. ‘Samsung Electronics is aware of the case of the S10's malfunctioning fingerprint recognition and will soon issue a software patch,’ the company said.
At the launch of these handsets at MWC earlier this year, Samsung had dubbed the technology as a ‘revolutionary new biometric authentication feature.’ For those unaware, Samsung never used the optical in-display fingerprint sensors on their phones before the ultrasonic sensors were launched. The ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor sends ultrasound (sound waves) to detect 3D ridges of fingerprints to recognise the user.
While optical fingerprint sensors cannot work if there is water or dust on the screen, the ultrasonic sensor can successfully recognise a user even if his/her hands are wet, or there’s dust on the screen. However, earlier this year, a British user reported a bug in her Galaxy S10 that allowed anyone to unlock the phone regardless of the biometric data registered in the phone.
According to the user, her husband bought a third-party screen protector from eBay, and applied it on the screen. After applying the protector, the man could unlock her Samsung Galaxy S10 using his fingerprint even though his data was not registered in the phone. The user further claims that the data of her left thumb wasn’t registered but she could still unlock the phone.
While the reason of this bug isn’t known, rumour mill suggests that some screen protectors are incompatible with Samsung's reader. Due to this mismatch, there was a small air gap that interfered with the scanning. The official reason for the discrepancy is still not known.