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    What are the Safest Locking Options for Smartphones?

    How are they different from face recognition, passwords, etc.?

    Today, smartphones hold more personal data than any other form of technology. Users store all of their most important data such as photos, contacts, social accounts, banking accounts, and personal messages. Securing mobile devices has become a priority for smartphone developers such as Apple, Samsung, and Google. Each brand has taken a different approach to security. But what is the safest way to lock a smartphone? In this module, users will learn about various locking options for smartphones and which ones are considered the most secure.


    Passcodes are the most commonly used method of locking a smartphone. Many phones offer a 4-digit PIN while others offer longer passcode options with 6 or 8 digits. Passcodes are generally safe as long as the code is complex in nature but easy to remember for the user. Passcodes such as “0000” or “1234” should never be used since they are the most commonly guessed passcodes. Though new mobile security technology has been developed, passcodes still remain the final line of defense for smartphones.

    Fingerprint Scan

    Fingerprint security became a popular method of security when Apple launched its “Touch ID” technology. This scanner uses the unique fingerprint of a user to lock and unlock mobile devices. The technology is precise and only unlocks for the exact fingerprint that is registered in its database. The scanner will not work for a different finger including fingers of the registered user that have not been placed in the database. Apple claims that the chances of a faulty fingerprint fooling Touch ID are one in 50,000. This makes fingerprint scanners more secure than passcodes. Android smartphone developers have also started to utilize fingerprint scanners to secure their devices. The most secure approach for users is to layer a fingerprint scanner with a passcode, making it more difficult for the device to be compromised.

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    Facial Recognition

    Many smartphones now offer a biometric security option that scans the face of the user. This allows users to unlock their phone by holding it in front of their face. While this offers convenience to users, several versions of mobile facial recognition have proven to be less than effective. Flaws have been identified with smartphones that use 2-dimensional biometric security as hackers have been able to use printed pictures of the user to bypass the security feature. Smartphones that utilize 3-D facial recognition are much safer since they scan the entire head of the user instead of just the 2-D front. Though this is a creative method of security, it ranks behind passcodes and fingerprint scanners. Users that have facial recognition should consider deactivating it and using the fingerprint and passcode option.

    Iris Scan

    A select group of smartphones now offer an iris scanner for phone security. This was developed as an alternative to facial recognition. A user’s iris is nearly impossible to replicate making this scanner an even more secure option than a passcode or facial recognition. As iris authentication technology continues to develop in mobile devices, it will serve as a strong layer of security for users.


    Securing mobile devices has become a priority for smartphone developers such as Apple, Samsung, and Google. Each brand has taken a different approach to security. Security options for locking a smartphone include passcodes, fingerprint scanners, facial recognition, and iris scanners.

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