How To: Fingerprint-lock apps without a fingerprint scanner on Android

Biometrics is one of the best security options for locking digital content. In fact, it’s miles ahead any PIN, pattern or passphrase you could set, since your fingerprint is obviously way harder to crack than any kind of character string.

For those owning an Android device equipped with a fingerprint scanner, locking apps (or the phone) using this method is readily available. Even so, we’ve got a handy app for you that lets you fingerprint-lock your apps even if your phone doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner.

All it needs (and we’re pretty sure it can’t be called a smartphone if it doesn’t) is a camera. Here’s what you need to do, in order to unlock this functionality on your Android phone or tablet.

The application in question is called Fingerprint AppLock (Real) and it lets you lock any app you want using your fingerprint. It uses the rear camera and image processing to ‘scan’ your fingerprint.

Fingerprint AppLock (Real)

Download Fingerprint AppLock (Real) – Google Play Store

The same developer offers a pro version of the app as well for $1.2 that removes the adds and bundles a few more features. If you like the app, we recommend you support the developer and buy it (the price is definitely small). Nevertheless, for the purpose of this tutorial we used the free version and you can too.

Before we get started you should know the app works on Android 4.1 and newer versions and relies on the autofocus capability of the camera. There’s a chance it may not work on your device but it’s at least worth trying. We’ve had success using it on a Samsung Galaxy S5 and a Nexus 6 so far.

Fingerprint AppLock - Main

Assuming you installed Fingerprint AppLock (Real) on your device, open the app and tap on Finger Enroll to be able to scan your fingerprint. The app lets you choose which finger you want to use for unlocking. After you make your selection, you’ll have to scan your finger seven times.

Fingerprint AppLock - Verification

Also, the app lets you add a pattern and a PIN you can use to unlock whatever app you were trying to access should the fingerprint scanner fail to work.

Once Fingerprint AppLock has your fingerprint you can return to the main menu and select Lock Apps. As soon as you do, the app will require turning on Accessibility Service and you’ll have to enable it so you can use Fingerprint AppLock to lock your apps.

Enable Accesibility Service

Now you can finally select the apps you want to fingerprint-lock, although you do have the alternative of setting a pattern or PIN lock instead.

To unlock apps locked with Fingerprint AppLock you’ll need to place your finger in front of the camera to be scanned. It doesn’t work quite as fast as a dedicated fingerprint scanner but the comfort of not typing passwords and the added security are worth that extra waiting time.

How does Fingerprint AppLock work on your device? have you been able to fingerprint-lock your apps using it? Let us know in the comments section, or drop us a line on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.