November 29, 2023

Novoda Software

Software Guides and Reviews

How to Add a Fingerprint in Android

Fingerprint authentication in phones was introduced in 2007. However, it didn’t become a mainstream feature until the 2010s, mainly in the iPhone 5S in 2013. Samsung soon followed with the first implementation of fingerprint authentication on its Samsung Galaxy S5, in 2014.

Since then, the accuracy of the sensors has improved exponentially, and so has the capacity of Android devices to register fingerprints. Although many see it as an extra security measure, fingerprint access is more a means to unlock a device faster and avoid having to type in a PIN or draw a pattern.

How to Add a Fingerprint

The first time you’ll be prompted to register a fingerprint on your phone will be the initial phone setup. All new, out of the box phones have this setup wizard when you first power them on.


You can skip it too if you want to be done with the setup wizard, but most people use the most comfortable finger, depending on the positioning of the sensor. Some phones have it on the front while others have the sensor on the back.

How Many Can Your Phone Register?

Most smarpthones and tablets using an Android Marshmallow or newer OS version, should recognize up to five fingerprints. All fingerprints added to the phone’s memory will be allowed the same level of access which includes unlocking the phone, making secure payments, and so on.

How to Add New Fingerprints

To add new fingerprints to your device you need to navigate to the Lock screen and security section of your device. The wording may differ as on some phones you may simply have a Security tab, or Security and Privacy tab, and other variations on the subject.

security and privacy

Here’s how:

  1. Open your device.
  2. Unlock using your fingerprint, PIN, or pattern.
  3. Go to Settings.
  4. Scroll until you find Security tab.
  5. Tap to enter and then look for the Fingerprints tab.
    fingerprint management
  6. If you don’t have fingerprints enabled yet, you will be asked for your password first.
  7. Type in your password and tap Next if you want to proceed.
  8. Tap on Fingerprint 1, 2, 3, or Add Fingerprint, depending on how many digits you’ve registered.
  9. Place the desired digit on t sensor when prompted.
  10. Follow all the instructions provided (these may differ depending on your phone and OS.)

Note that you may get an error message affirming that the fingerprint was not added, if you wait too long to place your digit on the sensor. This may require you to wait a few moments before you can try again.

Extra Tip – You Can Use Someone Else’s Prints Too

Obviously there’s no searching algorithm in an Android device that looks through databases to see who the prints are registered to. This means that there’s nothing stopping you from giving someone else fingerprint authentication on your device.

This can be quite convenient for families, as both parents can use their fingerprints to unlock a phone or tablet for their kids. It can also be useful when you’re busy, dirty, and need someone else to use your phone.

However, note that although this is possible, there are some services and applications that prohibit the use of other registered fingerprints other than those of the device owner. Android Pay is one of them.

Why You Should Always Register More Than One Digit

Here’s a very common instance when having more than one fingerprints registered comes in handy. Say you want to unlock your phone and check a recipe. Your right-hand fingers are either wet, sticky, or covered in flower. Chances are that you won’t be able to use any finger from your right hand to authenticate.

Registering two fingerprints per hand would give you more options. Besides, if you burn your finger or cut it and have it wrapped, you won’t be able to use it to give yourself quick access to your phone.

finger scanner s5

Fingerprint Sensors Have Improved But Are Not Yet Perfect

You’ve probably tried to use your fingerprint to unlock an Android device and failed on at least a few occasions. Whether it was because of sticky fingers, a dusty sensor, or whatever else, this technology is still used by almost every user due to its quick access perk.

Now, some users have reported instances when someone else used their unregistered digit to gain access. Did this ever happen to you? Let us know how convenient or unreliable you find this technology to be, in both older or newer Android devices.