Samsung wants the Galaxy S8 to be a super safe device. With that purpose in mind, the company bundled the phone with several systems meant to ensure your personal information stays safely locked away from prying eyes. Apart from the traditional PIN, pattern or password unlock options, the Galaxy S8 also offers a fingerprint scanner authentication system, iris scanner (which was first made available with the Galaxy Note7) and an old fashioned face recognition system.

Iris scanning technology is advertises as being one of the most secure forms of biometric authentication, since an iris pattern is practically impossible to replicate. The iris scanner is practically a camera designed with a very specific function in mind which works alongside an infrared LED in order to recognize the unique pattern in your iris.


The camera includes a special image filter that receives and recognizes the reflected picture of the iris via a red IR LED light.

To use the iris scanner to authenticate yourself, users will need to lift the phone to eye level at arm’s length and wait for the iris scanner to capture the data. And compared to the scanner found in the Galaxy Note7, the one in the Galaxy S8 is a lot faster to process the information and unlock the phone for you. Samsung has improved the technology, so now you don’t even have to align the phone perfectly with your face, as long as the eyes are in the viewfinder. It also works from a considerable distance.

Like in the case of the Note7, once the iris pattern has been registered, the phone will store the information as an encrypted piece of code. Then, when a user tries to access the phone, the LED and camera combo work to capture the iris, then extract the code and compare the two against one another, before granting the owner access.

Users can also use the iris scanning technology for some of the most sensitive activities like paying with your credit or debit account. Scan your iris to make purchases with Samsung Pay (or Android Pay if you prefer this option) or check your bank accounts via Samsung Pass.

However, in recent days it was shown to have a loop hole. A user revealed that the Galaxy S8 can be unlocked by sampling using a picture of the phone’s user where the eyes are visible. By taking a photo of the Galaxy S8’s owner and by placing it in front of the phone’s iris scanner, the flagship can easily be unlocked. So the Galaxy S8’s authentication system is far from being bulletproof.

Actually iris scanning technology has limitation which Samsung itself acknowledged a while ago, like speed and accuracy (as demonstrated above). That’s why Samsung decided to add facial recognition to the Galaxy S8. With a face scanner, the phone can be unlocked with less than 0.01 seconds.

Face-authentication on Galaxy S8

In the end you’ll have to pick between the two, as you can have only method of facial unlocking activated on the device. Now if you are concerned about the security, we advise you to use the iris scanner. However, if you want speed above anything else, you should opt for face recognition.

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