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Can the Samsung Galaxy S20 fingerprint scanner work with screen protectors?

The answer is not as simple as a "yes" or "no."

Published onAugust 4, 2023

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra front left profile

The Samsung Galaxy S20 series has an in-display fingerprint scanner on the lower half of the screen. Samsung previously did this with the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 series in 2019. The company also did this with its newer Samsung Galaxy S21, Galaxy S22, and Galaxy S23 series devices. Like all those phones, the Galaxy S20 fingerprint scanner uses ultrasonic technology. In other words, when you press your finger on the scanner, it uses very high-frequency ultrasonic sound waves to map out your fingerprint.

This technology was a bit problematic when the Galaxy S10 phones were launched. Samsung was forced to release a software patch for those phones shortly after they went on sale to improve the speed and use of the scanner. This largely solved the problem, and Samsung continued to use the technology. Now Samsung’s in-display fingerprint readers are among the best, and they perform amazingly with little to no issues.

But does the Galaxy S20 fingerprint scanner work with a screen protector? Here’s what you need to know and how to improve performance.

Will the Galaxy S20 fingerprint sensor work with a screen protector?

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE upright front
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

In short, the answer to that question is most of them, yes. If you are placing a film or plastic screen protector on top of the Galaxy S20’s display, you should not experience any issues using its in-display fingerprint scanner.

However, that answer might change if you use a tempered glass-based screen protector. These offer more protection for your display than plastic or film. At the same time, some tempered glass-based products can mess with the ultrasonic tech in the fingerprint sensor. In general, the thinner the tempered glass screen protector is, the better it will work with the Galaxy S20 fingerprint scanner, and it’s always best to re-register your fingerprints after installing your screen protector.

One way to stay safe is to be on the lookout for product descriptions and titles. Many of these screen protector manufacturers advertise compatibility with the fingerprint sensor. One example is the IQ ShieldGalaxy S20 Screen Protector two-pack. It’s affordable, resistant, and works with fingerprint unlock. Keep in mind that with most of these products, you will need to re-register your fingerprints after installing the screen protector.

iq shield screen protector

Note that the fingerprint sensor will always work better without the screen protector. If your sensor is regularly struggling to read your fingerprints, consider swapping to a phone with a capacitive fingerprint sensor when you next upgrade.

If you’re looking for a more resistant tempered glass screen protector, try this amFilm option here. It’s significantly more expensive, but it offers a lot more protection than film options like the one above. Plus, it still works with the ultrasonic sensor, as long as you re-register your fingerprints after installation.

For more details, you can check out our lists of the best screen protectors for the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 Plus, and Galaxy S20 Ultra models. You should also check out our list of the best Android phones, just in case you’re ready to upgrade to something newer.