How to Quickly Disable Fingerprint and Face Recognition on Your Phone

Opening your phone with your fingerprint or face recognition is cool and convenient. But in the United States, enabling Touch ID or Face ID basically gives police officers free access to your phone in the event of an arrest. Fortunately, iOS and Android allow you to temporarily disable fingerprint or face recognition in several different ways.

Why do you need to quickly lock your phone? Well, several courts have ruled that law enforcement cannot force you to enter your phone’s password, but they can force you to open your phone using your fingerprint . So every time you expect a clash with law enforcement – going through the TSA or customs , or every time you are stopped , you are taking part in a protest or doing something near frightened white people – you have to lock your phone. Here’s how.


Settings app

Android P (now in beta) includes a “lock mode” which requires your swipe pattern or password. Go to Settings> Security & Location> Lock Screen Settings . Enable the Show blocking option . Then anytime you want to activate the lock, hold the power button and press Enter Lock .

In Oreo, go to Settings> Lock Screen & Security> Screen Lock Type and disable all options under Biometrics .


You can create a home screen shortcut for customization using the Tasker app ( $ 2.99 on Google Play ). Create a System Lock task ( Display> System Lock ) and add a shortcut to your home screen. Then, when you need to lock your phone, tap the shortcut.


Power and volume buttons

The easiest and least noticeable way to turn off Touch ID or Face ID is to hold down the power button and any of the volume buttons . (On iPhone 5S to 7, press the power button five times.)

After a few seconds, your phone will vibrate and offer three options: off, medical ID, and emergency call. Whatever you choose, even Cancel, your phone will ask for a password to unlock.

Once you unlock your phone, Touch ID will be enabled again. Therefore, you will have to repeat this step every time you lock your phone.

These lock screen options are pretty cool, with your medical ID showing all the emergency contact information you’ve saved. The SOS emergency calls 911 immediately. If you cancel this, it counts down ten seconds before calling your emergency contacts. If you cancel this, it will finally calm down. But your phone will still need your password to unlock.

Hey Siri

If you have Hey Siri turned on and then you say, “Hey Siri, whose phone is this?” on locked phone will disable Touch / Face ID. Like the button press method, this only lasts until you unlock your phone once.

Oddly enough, it doesn’t work if you activate Siri while holding down the Home button. (Siri decodes your question as “Who is this phone?” – an annoying grammatical mistake that will surely lead to a drop in Apple’s stock price.) When we tested it, the voice command sometimes failed if we did not use our own contact information. This feature seems to be too smart on its own.

Settings app

On iOS, you can go to Settings> Touch ID & Passcode (or Face ID & Passcode ) and turn off iPhone unlocking . The next time you lock your phone, you will need to enter your password to log in again. Unlike the methods described above, this change persists until you go back to Settings and turn Touch / Face ID back on. (Your phone still remembers your face or fingerprint, so you don’t have to learn it again.)


You can always turn off your phone. Each time you turn it back on, it will need your password to unlock. Therefore, if other methods don’t work for some reason, you can always restart your phone to lock it.

More extreme measures

On Android or iOS, you can turn off fingerprint and face recognition completely and just use a passcode. (On Android, you can also use the swipe pattern, but make sure it’s hard to guess .) Typing in your password every time is a little awkward, but at least your phone keys remain locked in your head.

If that’s not enough, you can back up all your data, erase your phone data and restore it later. Of course, this makes your phone useless for now.

Finally, review the settings to see what’s available on the lock screen. If your calendar, text notifications, or other lock screen widgets contain sensitive information, turn them off. There is no point in locking your phone if new text can wipe out all that hard work.


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