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This nasty trick makes the Pixel 7 fingerprint scanner more reliable

Or you could, you know, moisturize your fingers.
By

Published onMay 24, 2023

Google Pixel 7 Pro on screen fingerprint reader stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • A Redditor has uncovered an icky workaround for unlocking Pixel phones with dry fingers.
  • The user advises that you wipe the side of your nose and then unlock your phone.

The Google Pixel 7 series delivers a more reliable fingerprint scanning experience than the Pixel 6 range. Some Pixel 7 owners still find the scanner to be inaccurate, but a new, gross workaround might work for you.

Redditor No-Fondant-8757 (h/t: Android Police) noted a few weeks ago that the Pixel 7 fingerprint scanner never worked if their fingers were very clean and dry. They specifically pointed to the scanner being less accurate after washing their hands, showering, or swimming.

The Redditor found that wiping their finger on the side of their nose before scanning made for a more reliable fingerprint scanning experience. This claim was echoed by several users in a follow-up thread, with some also noting that they’ve wiped their finger on their forehead or scalp as well for similar results. Others also advise that you enroll both wet and dry fingers for improved scanning reliability.

I haven’t had any issues with dry fingers on my Pixel 7 Pro scanner, but the tip seems to work for at least one Android Authority team member.

Why would this approach work?

Google Pixel 7 lock screen
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The Pixel 7 series uses an optical-based in-display fingerprint sensor, which effectively needs to see your fingerprint for validation. But research suggests that dry fingers might be an issue with some optical-based scanners as specific parts of your fingerprint might be more rigid and aren’t making consistent, good contact with the scanner. By comparison, moisturized fingers might have more pliable fingerprint ridges.

We’re not sure if phones with ultrasonic fingerprint scanners like the Galaxy S23 series would suffer from this issue, as these scanners use sound waves to validate registered prints. Nevertheless, it stands to reason that this tip should work on other phones with optical-based fingerprint scanners.

Does your Pixel have scanning issues when your fingers are dry?

707 votes

We’ve asked Google about these claims but the company declined to comment on the matter. But it’s previously addressed the issue of the in-display fingerprint sensor not working properly with dry fingers.

“If you have excessively dry fingers, moisturize or re-enroll fingerprint,” the company explains on a support page. This is definitely a more sanitary approach than wiping your nose or forehead grease on your phone screen.

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