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The Galaxy Note 7 iris scanner: your questions answered

The Galaxy Note 7 iris scanner: your questions answered

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 phablet became official today at the company’s New York Unpacked event. Collectively, the phone seems to be a refinement/mashup of both the previous Note 5 and the company’s flagship Galaxy S7 Edge. Perhaps the biggest change is the addition of an iris scanner. We’re taking a look at some of the specifics regarding this young feature. 

Can it be hacked using a photo of someone’s eyes?

Certain iris scanners in the past have been fooled by providing detailed fake material to iris scanners (just check out this article from Forbes). We will have to wait to see how Samsung’s implementation fares against hackers. Some common fingerprint scanners were fooled in the past using high-resolution material printouts of fingerprint data, so it is possible that iris scanning will likewise be only as foolable (if not less so) than fingerprint scanning. Expect to hear more from the press in the coming weeks.

Is it reliable?

Taking a look at press reactions to the feature shortly after the device announcement, it seems that the feature is quick and convenient. Have a look at this article from Android Authority.

Is it better than a fingerprint scanner?

Iris scanning, as a technology not specific to the Galaxy Note 7, is commonly viewed as a more secure alternative to fingerprint recognition, with an estimated ten times greater accuracy.

Does it work in the dark?

The Note 7’s iris scanner uses infrared light, so yes, the scanner works in the dark.

What about identical twins?

Genetically identical twins don’t have identical irises.

What about privacy?

Iris recognition has been seen by some as a privacy concern. Using powerful cameras and sensors, people’s iris data could potentially be captured from a distance, theoretically without a person’s agreement or awareness. If in the wrong hands, misused iris recognition technology could become a nightmare. Potential misuses range from identity theft to citizen location tracking.

Does it work with glasses or contacts?

Samsung says it’s better to not use glasses or contacts with the scanner. Glasses, in particular, seem to be a culprit of usability. A journalist from Android Authority has reported successful unlocks while wearing contact lenses.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that the Note 7 does feature a fingerprint scanner, so glasses-wearing consumers have the option to use that instead.

What else do you want to learn about the new Note? Let us know in the comments below.

Sources: ExplainThatStuff, Samsung, Android Authority, Recombu. Image credit: Samsung


This article does not constitute cybersecurity advice or recommendations. Usage of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 iris scanner is subject to Samsung’s respective terms and conditions. Always use the Samsung iris scanner in accordance with Samsung’s guidelines and recommendations. We are not responsible for any misuse of such products. Reliability and usability may vary based on usage or model. We cannot guarantee the accuracy, authenticity, or availability of this content. See our Terms of Use for more information.

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