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[inconvenience] Fingerprint unlock only works on Lockscreen [released]

Tracked by Jolla (In release)

asked 2018-05-31 21:58:05 +0300

mosen gravatar image

updated 2018-05-31 22:01:25 +0300

First of all, thanks for providing the FP-reader to SFOSX as promissed, much appreciated.

Expected behaviour for me when using other devices with FP unlock is a little differnt than the current state though.

On other devices it is mostly possible to unlock from locked (sleep?) state directly to homescreen without first having to wake the device to Lockscreen and further unlock from there.

Currently i have to press the power-button and have to release and tap again to scan the finger which feels awkward.

Ideal would be to scan the finger anytime it touches the sensor and a) during unlocked state lock the phone and b) during locked/sleep state directly unlock to homescreen or last open app respectively.

EDIT: A workaround could be to make it possible to double click the power button to scan which was the quickest way to unlock on sfosx before. Double click now prompts the pin request and another tap is needed to scan the finger.

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The question has been closed for the following reason "released in a software update" by olf
close date 2020-02-02 00:25:25.450462



This was exactly what I thought too when I downloaded the update today. In my opinion it's waste of the fingerprint sensor if you always have to wake up the screen first.

Sakke ( 2018-05-31 22:44:17 +0300 )edit

yeah, it would be nice if it was working as on xperia with anroid: press the power button, phone awakens, scans the FP and unlocks. Pressing, unpressing and putting finger back on the button is a bit annoying

virgi26 ( 2018-06-01 00:15:18 +0300 )edit

but a) seems to be unnecessary

virgi26 ( 2018-06-01 00:16:00 +0300 )edit

as a matter of fact, i do not like the proposed behavior =) just touching should not unlock or lock the phone. Pressing should. But without need to touch again

virgi26 ( 2018-06-01 00:18:42 +0300 )edit

@virgi26 I am all for choices and make it configurable ;) I am used to just touching from some other phones and actually liked to also lock them with FP. It is easy to reach and a good addition to the top-down menu option imho. But sure, why not also have the option to press button first. or even need double press for other people liking that.

mosen ( 2018-06-01 00:29:28 +0300 )edit

4 Answers

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answered 2018-06-05 09:35:48 +0300

inta gravatar image

updated 2018-06-05 21:34:23 +0300

Another inconvenience is that the lock screen only goes away if the phone was locked, not if it is already unlocked. That is really annoying for me as my phone only locks after 5 minutes and I never know if I have to swipe the lock screen away or put my finger on the fingerprint reader. I think the lock screen should always move away if I put my finger on the reader (unless the phone is really locked and the fingerprint does not match).

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yeah... had the same problem. But now with FP sensor you can just set to lock instantly, and the problem will go away

virgi26 ( 2018-06-05 21:43:58 +0300 )edit

Not entirely true. Having it unlocked for 5 minutes (as I have) makes it easier to access the phone still lying flat down on my desktop. There's a difference to push the lock screen to just wake the screen and then swipe (if unlocked) than to touch the fingerprint reader in a way to make a valid read.

Mohjive ( 2018-06-07 12:57:09 +0300 )edit

answered 2018-06-08 08:56:47 +0300

spiiroin gravatar image

updated 2018-11-02 13:16:59 +0300

Thanks for reporting, I've created internal ticket about this.

At this stage we have been busy enough with getting the fingerprint sw stack implemented and working in different devices - we have not yet done any device specific optimizations to things like unlocking control flow.

As an example: Whether a fp scanner in a device can be kept active depends on what kind of drain it produces from power management point of view -> the "always safe" option is to require user to wake up the device before activating fp scanner.

Then comes the Xperia X specific issue that: When fingerprint hal is activated, it first wants to see "no finger on the scanner" situation before commencing with identification. Now, when the device needs to be woken up (by pressing power key doubling as a fingerprint scanner) before fp scanner is activated, the hal always finds itself in a situation where there is already a finger on the scanner & user must lift the finger off power key before anything happens i.e. at the moment single touch unlocking with power key is not possible.

EDIT - SFOS 3.0.0:

Experimental fingerprint wakeup support is available - for now enabling from command line is needed:

mcetool --set-fingerprint-wakeup-mode=proximity

Fingerprint scanner is activated and used for waking up device when the scanner is not used for authentication purposes and proximity sensor is not covered.

mcetool --set-fingerprint-wakeup-mode=always

Fingerprint scanner is activated and used for waking up device when the scanner is not used for authentication purposes.

mcetool --set-fingerprint-wakeup-mode=never

Fingerprint scanner is not used for waking up device.


  • When display is off, fp scanner is used for wakeup only -> Unlock ui is shown when registered fingerprint is seen, and another tap on fp scanner is needed to unlock device.
  • However tapping on scanner while "lpm" / "glance" ui is visible should unlock directly.
  • If fingerprint scanner does not wake the device from suspend (e.g. Xperia X), wakeups will work only sporadically. However enabling lpm/glance ui and/or selecting "proximity" wakeup mode should mean more reliable operation in "after device has been taken out of pocket" situations.


Just a clarification: When enabling the feature, you should use "wakeup-mode=proximity", especially on Xperia X as it does help with keeping the scanner active and alive in situations where it is more likely to be needed. Basically the "wakeup-mode=always" is useful only in devices with broken p-sensor - or in other devices with different hw, for users who do not mind possible extra power drain.

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Btw, is there some kind of instructions/tutorial about fingerprint unlocking, how to take it in use, and how to actually use it ? For us, that never have had a phone with this kind of feature.

Upp15 ( 2018-06-08 09:55:56 +0300 )edit

@Upp15 Short version:

Locate fingerprint scanner:

  • In Xperia X: Power key doubles as a fingerprint scanner.

Take security code in use:

  • Settings -> Device Lock: Use security code, enter, verify and make sure you remember the security code, check that timeout, allowed retries, etc are to your liking.

Enroll fingerprint(s):

  • Settings -> Device Lock: Add fingerprint + follow instructions.
  • The difficult part is probably going to be: Getting the hang of how the sensor should be pressed to get a reaction.
  • Initially the fingerprint graphics on screen is all dimmed. With each acquired sample it lights up - starting from the middle.
  • Once it is all white -> success notification.
  • Difficulties can ensue from: Pressing too shortly / too lightly / too strongly / too rapidly, with too dry / too moist fingers, not covering sufficient area of fingertip (varying the part of finger you press on the sensor during enroll = how the finger needs to be placed during identification is less rigid), etc.

Unlocking with fingerprint:

  • Fingerprint authentication is enabled when: at least one fingerprint has been registered and maximum number of fingerprint authentication attempts has not been exceeded (=5, hardcoded, IIRC).
  • Wake up the device with power key, doubletap, some other means
  • While lockscreen or security code query is shown on screen: Place finger on the sensor -> device should vibrate slightly and switch to home screen / application.
spiiroin ( 2018-06-08 10:42:29 +0300 )edit

@spiiroin: Thanks for the explanation. It's unfortunate that the combination of "wake up phone to enable scanner", "scanner on power button" and "no finger on the scanner"-requirement makes the fingerprint scanner hard to use on the Xperia X. Any possibility that the first or last items will have changed behavior in a later release?

Mohjive ( 2018-06-08 12:06:19 +0300 )edit

@spiiroin Thanks alot ! :-)

Upp15 ( 2018-06-08 19:40:18 +0300 )edit

@Mohjive: There will be changes. It still needs a lot of polishing and device specific tweaking, including basic things like: The instruction pictures showing where the fp scanner is do not match the situation with Xperia X.

spiiroin ( 2018-06-11 09:48:20 +0300 )edit

answered 2018-06-06 17:35:02 +0300

too gravatar image

updated 2018-06-06 17:35:45 +0300

I agree that fingerprint unlock behaviour could be better, but it sure is better that it used to be (i.e. no support at all...)

I've used my device almost 8 months now and got used to some behaviour:

When I saw lockscreen with numeric keypad, I type 53778 and if I typed correctly device unlocked -- I'd estimate every 3rd case I mistyped and had to type 53776 again...

Now, when I see lockscreen I still start typing numbers... but I try to learn to just start touching the power button gently, but repeatedly (2-4 times a second) with my thumb -- and usually within 2 seconds, my device unlocks.

(I'd guess the lockscreen app did not crash me doing that (and it would not have mattered whose finger was used there ;), as I used the same method -- touching the sensor in fast pace, 2-4 times per second -- to teach it. Someone(tm) in the release notes thread suggested this method (which I upvoted) -- it worked -- slow sensor massage just lead to frustration)

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answered 2020-02-02 00:24:13 +0300

olf gravatar image

updated 2020-02-02 00:24:53 +0300

Another, related, newer, in-depth answer by @spiiroin covering the aspects of the original question here, which are not addressed in his answer here:

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Asked: 2018-05-31 21:58:05 +0300

Seen: 2,019 times

Last updated: Feb 02 '20