Samsung Galaxy Note 4’s new fingerprint scanning features detailed


samsung galaxy note 4 1

Earlier today, we saw Samsung throwing more coal into the Galaxy Note 4 hype train with a new teaser video highlighting the innovation that was the original S Pen. And while we were expecting the usual bump in hardware specs (display resolution, RAM, battery), it seems Samsung could have another trick up its sleeve: a new and improved fingerprint scanning software.

According to SamMobile, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 uses the same Synaptics Natural ID fingerprint technology as the Galaxy S5, the button will take advantage of new software features unique to the phablet (but will likely arrive on the S5 in a future update). Apparently, the home button will come with the added benefit of launching specific apps according to the finger being swiped to unlock the device. This means you users will set the phone app to launch with the index finger, messaging app with middle finger, or the Phandroid app with the thumb.

Samsung is also taking the Note 4’s fingerprint scanning abilities to the next level by remembering credentials from the websites you visit online. Whether IGN, Android Forums, or anything in between — after visiting a website for the first time and logging in manually, the Note 4 will remember your info, entering in your credentials with the swipe of a finger.

As useful as the fingerprint scanner sounded on paper, we were disappointed to find that not many apps supported the function, with the exception being the PayPal app. Hopefully this is only a sign of things to come and when Samsung officially unveils the Galaxy Note 4 come this September 3rd, we’ll hear about additional app support as well.

Of course, Phandroid will be reporting live from the event bringing you the latest, so stay tuned.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. You know, I would honestly think that any Verizon app would open when I swiped my middle finger.


  2. *if you use the Samsung internet browser, no doubt.

    The fingerprint scanner is atrocious on my S5….well, I should say the execution of me swiping the fingerprint is atrocious. Tried it for like 2 days and then gave up completely.

    1. Can it be disabled?

      1. Yes.

    2. I’m just switching back to unlocking with a PIN instead of the fingerprint scanner on my S5 after using it for several months. In daily usage, it takes an average of two or three swipes. And while riding a bike, both hands come off the handlebars so I can hold my phone at the right angle to swipe. The PIN is much easier then. And yes, I did program one of my three fingers to be my thumb in a one-handed swipe, but it is even less reliable.

      I wish I could choose different profiles for screen unlock (without having root), then bike mode would go into voice unlock (not that that is available anyway…) or face unlock (don’t see that option now either…).

    3. Exactly, show me that you’ve fixed the basic stuff before you “add additional functionality”.

    4. I’ve heard they did some kind of software update to improve it. Not sure which carriers have that, but you can Google it. Do you have the latest OTA update from your carrier?

  3. No Iris scan???!!!!! SHAME.

  4. Phandroid with the thumb..nice one.

  5. Too bad they aren’t smart enough at samsung to work on the basics (a pathetic speaker which should have been moved to the front several years ago and the horrible indoor /lowlight camera capabilities) before they moved on to screwing up useless novelty tech additions.

    1. A speaker on the front would be very good. Doesn’t look like it’s to be. I thought I read it was moving to the bottom…maybe that would be some better.Don’t know if that’s true or not.

      1. My Note 3 has it in the bottom and if that last leak is credible it’s still there in the N4.

    2. Agreed, after HTC did it I don’t understand why any phone after didn’t have front facing speakers. I hate having to cup my phone to direct the sound to me instead of away from me.

      1. That’s what earphones are for , try the Jaybirds , they are wireless up to 50 ft and look and sound incredible……….

        1. Maybe people not trying to cough up all that extra money when they dont have too

          1. Thank you and amen

        2. So any time you do anything requiring audio be it actual music or an app like YouTube you plug in your headphones every time? I doubt it.

          Plus what about when im showing someone a video on my phone am I supposed to carry spare headphones and a splitter so whomever can hear too? No.

          1. Bingo. You totally get it.

          2. So do you eat every meal out of the snack machine at your job (if you work) and say “man, what a fine cuisine!”? Or do you go home and eat some real food?

            Nobody is expecting the audio on their little phones to sound great. It’s a tiny speaker, it can’t move that much air to produce decent bass and midrange. Even the best smartphone speakers – and HTC One series arguably does have the best – still sounds like a Fisher Price walkie talkie submerged in a toilet full of honey.

            Sure it’s convenient, but it’s not a “real meal”. If you want decent sound, you connect it to decent speakers or headphones. If you want to share it, you just play from the phone and get what you get. Simple.

        3. Unless you’re driving and using gps and speakerphone, then you’re just adding more stuff to buy, carry and charge. Not convenient. Sammy design should just take their heads out of their butts and fix the basics.

        4. I’ve heard those headphones sound great and was considering them.

      2. It’s because it results in a big, ugly bezel. Some phone makers don’t want that.

        1. Don’t they have a design team? It can’t be that hard to get that.

          1. Yup, but the whole problem is they don’t have you.
            You’re an absolute genius and you’ve cracked the code. So let’s go, why don’t you go apply to Samsung Electronics right now and solve all their problems? It’s so simple!

        2. Again, a single all in one front facing speaker or even moving the speaker to the front (a normal speaker, not the big htc setup) would provide an infinitely better user experience with little to no increase in size.

          1. Ah yes, I see what you mean by that. Not sure why they didn’t go that route. Maybe it would’ve made the phone too thick.

    3. Don’t be so arrogant. If you tried the Galaxy S5 you’d know that the low
      light performance is spectacular, besting the iPhone 5S and HTC One M8
      in most cases (CNET did a shootout, which you can Google). That’s because
      they upgraded the image sensor from the old Sony IMX135 that was in the
      Galaxy S4 and Note 3 to a new Samsung ISOCELL sensor. The Note 4 will likely have the new IMX240 sensor
      with Optical Image Stabilization. Since low light performance has been
      one of the biggest complaints about their phones in the past, I’m pretty
      sure they’re addressing it head on.

      As far as the front facing speaker, I agree and hate cupping my hand
      over my phone, but putting them on the front would mean a big ugly bezel
      like the M8, and that was one of the big complaints about that
      phone. Samsung is going for a smaller bezel, not bigger. If they can
      somehow get a speaker into a tiny bezel, I’m all for it.

      Last, you make it sound like they dropped the ball on those 2
      things and somehow “forgot” them out of stupidity. They have a huge team designing their
      phones and are acutely aware of all the issues. They don’t put the
      fingerprint scanner on there to waste time, they do it because they
      think it’ll sell more phones, and to compete with iPhones, so customers
      don’t go “well I want the iPhone because of the scanner”.

      1. Don’t mistake extreme frustration for arrogance. When I’m paying full price for a piece of electronics, I expect them to have basic bugs worked out by the 4th generation. My htc rezound had an f2.0 aperture years ago (& took outstanding outdoor pictures). Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Samsung is still in 2.2 or 2.4 (but we all know even basic cameras can take pretty good pictures with a steady hand and natural light). Out of the 3 comparisons I saw, I wasn’t blown away by the indoor photos (or maybe I should say wasn’t particularly impressed) . It will be interesting to see what happens with the Note 4. With the air conditioning on, I can’t make out a speakerphone conversation or gps directions. There is no excuse for Samsung not, at the very least, replacing the earpiece speaker with a SINGLE all in one speaker. Samsungs sales are on the decline and they aren’t even smart enough to take care of the basics. Guess I’ll be arrogantly holding on to my 7 or 800 dollars and waiting for the new HTC Max instead of upgrading from the Note 3 to the Note 4. That’s right, I’ll accept a little extra size for tons more functionality and a much better user experience.

        1. Lol. No, your HTC Rezound had an f/2.2, same as the Galaxy S4, S5, and Note 3. The low light performance was no better than those, and nothing to write home about. Luckily, the Note 4 will have optical image stabilization which can potentially have a dramatic effect on low light performance by compensating for a large degree of shaky blur at slower shutter speeds.

          See, that’s arrogance; mistaking deliberate design designs for “basic bugs”, and then having the nerve to insult Samsung for having the exact same aperture as your “outstanding” phone. Also, arrogantly proclaiming you’ll have a “much better user experience” with a phone that hasn’t even been officially announced, much less had any real world reviews. In my PERSONAL opinion, the Sense interface sucks.

          Since you bring up HTC though, Phone Arena did a comprehensive blind comparison between the cameras on the Sony Experia Z2, Galaxy S5, LG G2, HTC One M8, and iPhone 5s. Guess who came in dead last for night-time performance, color, details, and indoor performance, 3rd out of 5 for panoramas and HDR, and 4th for video? HTC with its absolute dogsh*t “Ultrapixel” camera. Turns out Galaxy S5 was first place in all 7 categories; big surprise there. But forget the editor’s opinion, what did real owners say? Well, they also took a poll of which of those 5 phones’ photos readers like best – and what do you know, Galaxy S5 got first place again. By a landslide. It wasn’t even close.

          Regarding sound, I’m not giving Samsung a free pass on this. You’re right on that 100%, they need to get some better speakers for sure. I’d love some front facing speakers, however I’m not willing to fugly up my phone with big bezels. And since you brought it up, HTC Rezound also had the speaker on the back.

          The crappier speaker and the cameras that used to be poor in low light (but now perform better than the best HTC phone according to several blind comparisons) were design choices. Tradeoffs that Samsung made so they could invest more in a great display and more RAM and powerful processors and, unfortunately marketing. A lot of marketing, which helped put them on top. HTC made other design choices. It certainly doesn’t make the designers at either company dumb. But if you think you can do a better job at balancing the 500 aspects to a great, affordable phone, by all means start your own smartphone company, Robert. I’ll be the first on line to review it.

  6. I hope it’s optimized better than the S5’s finger print scanner. It’s subpar expectations wise because it can crap out and lock you out at times.

  7. I’m liking the small bezels on that note 4…

  8. The finger print scanning is working perfectly once you use the 2 additional fingers option with the initial finger (index) that I scanned. I would scan different angles of the same index and i have now 99.9: success rate.

  9. Was really hoping the Note line wouldn’t get the fingerprint scanner. Guess I’m not upgrading from my Note 3.

    1. i don’t get this… especially with how well it works :S

      1. Call me a tin foil hat guy or whatever, but there is no reason for my phone to have such a feature.


    2. You don’t have to enable it, you know? Just use the PIN, password, pattern, or swipe.

      1. I don’t believe it will be completely disabled.

        1. Well, no, the code is not removed, you can’t uninstall it, but if you don’t train it to read your fingerprint, it won’t work on anybody’s fingerprint.

    3. Ditto. I DONOTWANT a gimmicky fingerprint scanner; not because I wear a tinfoil hat, but because I don’t want the useless functionality, and because I especially don’t want a physical button (w or w/o scanner) on my next phablet.

      Keeping my Note3 until I see what the next LG and Nexus Shamu have to offer this fall.

      1. I would have loved the home button to have been a 3rd disappearing capacitive button marked by 1 or 2 “drop of water” concentric ripples.

    4. your next phone will have a fingerprint scanner and 5 million other sensors because you will finally give in after not upgrading for 5 years

  10. If the picture is correct it’s time to fire Samsungs design team for phones. For me the tab S was a big design miss because of the ridiculously high protruding edge around the tablet and it looks to be the same for Note 4. I was hoping they would shave it off all together.

    1. For me. the tab S, the Alpha and this are big improvements in Samsungs overall product design approach. I guess we’re different.

      1. I agree there aswell that makes 2 of us.

    2. “Protruding” being used excessively due to ip6..SMH!!!think i wouldnt notice.

  11. Looks like a smaller note 4 body, but keeping the same screen…samsung note4 needs stereo speakers.

    1. Or at least an all in one speaker on the front, you know…. facing the listener. What an insane concept.

  12. Doesn’t that other fruity device unlock apps per finger? If so, more lawsuits!

  13. Yeah Only 8 More Day’s “Can you say Mine”

  14. If it does, we should hope for the Tab S fingerprint scanner and not the S5, which has had horrible feedback.

  15. I can’t fathom why anyone would voluntarily give their fingerprints to any company. If you walked into a Walmart or Olive Garden and they asked to fingerprint you “for easier access” to your coupons and favorite items, would anyone do that? What if your phone asked for your social security and blood type and yearly income? It seems insane to me.
    Police and courts can ask Samsung (or Apple if you use their fingerprint scanner) to fork over your prints to build a case against you if they want.
    “But it’s so eeeeeasy!”
    No thank you.

    1. I dunno but I can’t fathom the facebook/selfie/tweet your toilet routine generation either

      1. What are you saying? Is that even a sentence?

  16. I cannot wait to exchange my N3 for the new N4. This phone will be a beast!!! As for those that worry about finger prints just an FYI you do not have to use that function. Only those that have something to hide are always the ones to panic about something being monitored.

    1. Surely you jest? My N3 is way more powerful than I need already. What kind of stuff do you do that your N3 can’t handle?

      1. After my 4.4.2 update my N3 has not been the same. It freezes and lags on speed when multi tasking and yes i have tried numerous reboots and factory resets but it has not been the same. So i feel that it is time to put it to rest and get the N4.

        1. I agree. My Note 3 has been my constant companion since Launch Day… and she has performed admirably in ways she wasn’t really designed to (read that multiple Odins, roots and ROMs). Her pending semi-retirement is well earned. The Note 4 can’t get here fast enough! :D

  17. I have a Tab S with the scanner. It usually takes at least two attempts to get it to work. Apple bought out the company that utilized static finger reading leaving the also-rans for Samsung.

    1. I personally think they shouldn’t have copied that feature. It seems desperate and doesn’t work right, not to mention being a massive privacy concern. But I get why they did it.

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