Face Unlock, Password, Fingerprint ID, and PIN: The Good and Bad | Techpaded Blog

Face Unlock, Password, Fingerprint ID, and PIN: The Good and Bad

Hi dear, today we'll be talking about the four most used methods of securing a smartphone device, which are PIN, Password, Fingerprint and Face ID; and reasons a lot of people use one instead of the other. I remember one of my first Samsung phones which I used during pre-teen (I had a feature phone then, chuckles). I was the PIN-happy type and I changed them like every 2 days. Unfortunately I did it one night then slept off, only to wake up and find out i had totally forgotten the PIN, even after cracking every cell in my brain.

pin lock

I'm not sure if there was an option to retrieve PIN then, nor perform a hard-reset if the phone was off; so that utterly marked the end of that phone. But things have changed now, Android phones are encrypted by default, providing multiple methods for locking and unlocking them. So let's make a 'simple' review on the various means to safeguard a smartphone, pointing out their merits and disadvantages.

PIN Code

This is one of the simplest and oldest ways to lock and unlock a phone using numbers, standing as a simple alternative to a password. A strong PIN code can be difficult to remember, but easier to enter than a password, and Android allows PINs of up to 16 digits, which equates to 10 quadrillion combinations.

However, judging from what I've seen, a lot of people use their phone numbers, short codes like 1234 or 5555, and date of birth as PINs which makes it easy for friends and family to guess, input and have access to your data. Also, odds are high that if someone take a quick glance at your PIN (probably when you are typing it), he/she can completely memorize it.

Meanwhile, PIN lock is helpful in a situation where you forget your phone at home or you're charging it away from home, but you really need something in it (maybe phone number, etc.). It happened to me once so I simply telephoned my sister through my other feature phone (which I use for phone calls and SMS), and I told her my PIN which she used to unlock my phone, then she sent me what I needed. Hadn't been I was using pattern lock, fingerprint or Face ID, that would have been impossible.

Pattern Lock

patterns lock
With this, you have to draw a pattern on a grid of nine dots and join at least four or them horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. This security method became popular when Android touchscreen phones came out.

Pattern lock is easy to use, simple and likely predictable. Navigate to your settings and make the lines invincible when drawing it so your neighbor won't be able to cram it, and draw the patterns really fast. One way I use to guess friends pattern is to turn off their phone screen and stare at it very well until I see shades of the lines on the blank screen.

Kids love playing with patterns by drawing wrong random lines which will trigger the system to permanently lock your phone till you provide some information to unlock it back. I recommend using it only if you don’t have a fingerprint ID scanner and you dislike PIN codes.


Similar to PIN lock, but this time with combination of alphabets (lowercase and uppercase), symbols and digits. It should contain a minimum of six characters, and a randomly generated long password is a secure way to lock a phone.

Nowadays, a lot of people use names of their lovers which makes it a little bit hard, but password lock shares almost the same pros and cons with PIN lock. A strong password should have a mixture of text, symbol and digits; or better yet a passphrase which will make it almost impossible to crack, thereby your phone is kept secured.

Fingerprint ID

fingerprint id
The chance of 2 people having the exact same fingerprint is one in 64 billion, thus, fingerprint ID has become the preferred unlock method for many. A fingerprint scanner is now mounted on so many phones nowadays, some on the back, in the home button and under the display just like Vivo X20 Plus UD.

It is fast and secure. Even if your cut or bruise your finger, your smartphone will still be unlocked thanks to the sub-epidermal and fingerprint gestures technology. You can't guess a fingerprint pattern like you can guess a password, and you can't also misplace it.

However, the scanner can sometimes be tricked by a mold of a person's finger, and worst is that a criminal could even cut off somebody's finger to get past a scanner security system. To cap it off, if somebody steals your fingerprints then you're doomed for life; because unlike PINs and password which you can easily change, you cannot change your finger print.

Face ID Recognition

With this, you can unlock your smartphone with just a glance. This feature is available mostly on high-end phone, where it works even if you change your haircut, grow/shave your beards, and use makeup - like the recently launched Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S

However, sometimes last year, it was reported that a mask broke the iPhone X face ID security which is really bad because the face ID can be used to confirm payments.

So far, what is the most secured unlock technology, and which do you presently use? Kindly share this post and drop a comment down below.


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