Don’t Rule Out the Passcode in the Age of Face Unlock and Fingerprint Scanners


It’s insane how many different ways we can lock our precious phones from intrusion by people than us. We have fingerprint unlock that was made popular by the iPhone 5S, face unlock that was made popular by the iPhone X and iris unlock by Samsung.

Although the industry has hyped the use of your fingerprints, irises and faces to unlock your phones, there was still other ways to lock your phone that still remain standard. Heck even, ou phones are programmed in such a way that they are the recovery option when they fail and that is the good old passcode or in some cases the PIN.

Before the announcement of the iPhone 5S and its circular fingerprint scanner, passcodes and PINs were the default when it came to secure your phone. You were required to set one while setting up the phone, which secures your phone when you lock it by pressing the power button or required when you boot up after inputting the SIM PIN.

The reason that they are so effective is that unless someone knows your passcode or you have an obvious one like 0000 or 1234, it is very hard to guess what your passcode is, which is not the same as the newly hyped methods of securing your phone.

Face unlock

The newer forms of unlocking your phone are sure convenient but they have their limitations. Regarding fingerprint scanners, people can either use your finger to unlock your phone when you’re asleep or make a cast of your fingerprint which they can use to log in. Face unlock is also not secure, especially on cheaper phones where in some cases it can be fooled by photos.

Face ID

The more secure forms are iris scanning and the face unlock feature on the new iPhones. Iris scanning is more secure since it actually sends a beam of infrared light to your eyes to analyze the patterns in your irises. The face unlock feature on the iPhone X, XR, XS and XS Max use a variety of sensors collectively referred to as Face ID (camera, dot projector, infrared camera and flood illuminator) which create a depth map of your face to identify you securely according to Apple.

iris scanner on a Galaxy S8

However, still, both use the good old passcode in case you are not securely logged in and that is why I still regard it as the king of securely locking your phone. You can decide not to use the fingerprint scanner or the iris scanner or even Apple’s Face ID system and you’d function well without fearing someone will login to your phone without your permission (by shoving the phone to your face or using your finger to unlock the phone).

On Android, users are also lucky they have other options to secure their phones like the pattern and password. These are also pretty effective and you bet no one will be able to unlock your phone if you enable either of this when you are asleep, which is good advice if you have a phone that doesn’t have the advanced face unlocking features expensive Android phones and iPhones have.

The passcode might be uncool now, but is still quite effective. I dare you to use it exclusively for a week at least.