How to Fix Samsung S20 Fingerprint Scanner

How to Fix Samsung S20 Fingerprint Scanner Not Working

The fingerprint scanner is one nifty feature heralded by the Samsung Galaxy S20. But it gave me a scare in the office when out of the blue, it somehow malfunctioned, and I needed to retrieve data quickly to give in to a client demand. 

Like me, you’re not alone if you’re experiencing this issue, as many S20 owners also suffered the same. The best part is due diligence told me there are workarounds you can do to settle the issue quickly. 

Don’t worry; we’re letting you in on the DIY secrets I’ve found. In this post, I’ll share 10 of the best troubleshooting fixes for the Samsung Galaxy S20’s faulty fingerprint scanner so you won’t fail to unlock your device from this point onward.

Why is the fingerprint scanner not working on my Samsung S20?

Several factors can cause an in-display fingerprint scanner not to work, so identifying them helps you determine the best ways to fix them. Here are the most common reasons for the Samsung Galaxy S20 fingerprint scanner problem.

  • A dirty touchscreen, an incompatible screen protector, or a dry finger reduces the in-display sensor’s effectiveness.
  • The registered fingerprint wasn’t correctly set and must be re-added.
  • The Samsung phone has system-related problems, causing its fingerprint scanner to malfunction.

How to Fix Samsung Galaxy S20 Fingerprint Scanner That’s Not Working 

When your S20 fingerprint scanner is not working, the solutions below should come in handy. We recommend you apply the workarounds in the order they are presented for best results. 

Note: The instructions apply to all Samsung Galaxy S20 models, including its later S20 FE variants.

FIX 1. Restart your phone 

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps4
Time to Perform Fix50 seconds
Things NeededA Samsung Galaxy S20

Regardless of the problem, conducting a restart procedure is the most standard way to troubleshoot your Samsung Galaxy S20. This action is excellent because it lets you correct the phone’s minor errors by refreshing and rebooting its system memory.

Thus, this quick and easy method is an ideal fix for the problem at hand. After all, your Galaxy S20’s in-display sensors are susceptible to software errors that may reduce its effectiveness.

However, you must note that these system errors don’t imply defects or damage to the fingerprint scanner. Poor performance and unresponsive features result only from a system malfunction.

Once the restart sequence improves your Samsung Galaxy S20’s performance, this should return its features and programs to their optimal condition. It means you can use your Samsung phone’s fingerprint scanner again without issues.

Step 1: Hold the Galaxy S20’s volume down and power keys simultaneously.

Step 2: Release these keys when a Samsung logo appears on your Galaxy S20 screen.

Step 3: Wait as the Samsung Galaxy S20 performs its bootup sequence.

Step 4: Scan your finger to check if your Galaxy S20’s fingerprint sensor works.

FIX 2. Ensure both finger and scanner are clean

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps1
Time to Perform Fix20 to 40 seconds
Things NeededA Samsung Galaxy S20
A soft microfiber cleaning cloth
Distilled water
70% or higher Isopropyl or Ethyl alcohol solution
A skin moisturizer

A dirty touchscreen often causes problems with the Samsung Galaxy S20’s fingerprint scanner. A study from the University of Arizona proved that smartphones are dirtier than toilet seats by tenfold.

Since your Galaxy S20 has an in-display scanner, it becomes less surprising due to its touchscreen being the most in contact with your hands. Therefore, you must keep your Samsung phone’s touchscreen clean to ensure dirt doesn’t block its fingerprint sensors.

A lint-free microfiber cleaning cloth is the best for this job because it’s safe to wipe into glass surfaces. You can also apply distilled water or alcohol to the cleaning cloth to help with difficult-to-remove dirt and for disinfection purposes.

Ensure both finger and scanner are clean

Only alcohol solutions with at least 70% concentration are safe to apply on electronic devices. Anywhere below this threshold may cause liquid damage due to more water content, harming more than just your Galaxy S20’s fingerprint scanner.

Likewise, you must ensure your finger is clean and moisturized before scanning it on your Samsung phone. After all, the Galaxy S20’s fingerprint scanner may fail to recognize a dry, cracked, or wrinkled fingertip.

ensure your finger is clean and moisturized before scanning it on your Samsung phone

However, you must remember that too much moisture on your finger may result in a failed fingerprint scan. As such, you must observe the right balance to ensure you can scan your finger without issues.

FIX 3. Remove your Galaxy S20’s screen protector 

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps1
Time to Perform Fix20 to 40 seconds
Things NeededA Samsung Galaxy S20
A replacement screen protector

Aside from dirt, your Samsung Galaxy S20’s screen protector may affect the in-display sensor’s reliability. Thus, we only recommend installing compatible screen protectors made specifically for Samsung Galaxy S20 models.

A cheaper screen protector’s poor build may reduce the fingerprint sensor’s ability to recognize fingerprints. In such cases, removing the screen protector might be better to ensure your Samsung phone’s in-display sensor works correctly.

Remove your Galaxy S20’s screen protector 

However, it’s up to you whether the fingerprint scanner is worth keeping over the screen protector’s added protection. Otherwise, wait until you get a compatible Samsung Galaxy S20 screen protector so you won’t have to compromise.

FIX 4. Enable its touch sensitivity feature

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps3
Time to Perform Fix10 seconds
Things NeededA Samsung Galaxy S20

Speaking of compromise, increasing your Samsung phone’s touch sensitivity is an excellent trick that we recommend. This action allows you to improve the effectiveness of your phone’s in-display sensor while it has a screen protector on.

This method will help fix the problem with your Galaxy S20 fingerprint scanner while you look for a screen protector replacement. But this method won’t make any difference if you never put a screen protector on your Samsung phone.

Step 1: Go to Settings.


Note: Pulling the notification bar and clicking the gear icon in your Galaxy S20’s
quick settings panel will also open its settings menu.
Step 2: Go to Display.

Step 3: Scroll down and turn on its Touch Sensitivity switch.

FIX 5. Remove your registered fingerprint and add it again. 

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps7
Time to Perform Fix60 seconds
Things NeededA Samsung Galaxy S20

Sometimes, the problem with your Galaxy S20 fingerprint scanner not working stems from a poor initial setup instead of system bugs and errors. As such, you must also consider whether you made a mistake registering your fingerprint before.

Therefore, we recommend removing your registered fingerprint so you can add it back again. This way, you can register your fingerprint precisely to prevent recognition issues when unlocking your phone.

Step 1: Go to Settings.

Step 2: Scroll down and open the “Biometrics and security menu.

Step 3: Scroll down and click the Fingerprints option.

Step 4: Press and hold the registered fingerprint to select it and
click “Remove” in the upper-right corner to delete it.

Step 5: Click the Add Fingerprint option to register a
new fingerprint on the Galaxy S20.

Step 6: Place your finger over the in-display sensor to scan and register it.

Step 7: Lift and adjust your finger’s position until the scan progress reaches 100%.

FIX 6. Wipe your Galaxy S20’s cache partition

Difficulty Easy ●●○○○
Number of Steps9
Time to Perform Fix1 minute and 40 seconds
Things NeededA Samsung Galaxy S20
A compatible USB cable
A PC

Wiping the device’s cache partition is another way to fix the problem with your Galaxy S20’s fingerprint scanner that’s not working. Your Samsung phone’s cache partition is often the reason behind various system malfunctions and errors.

The temporary data it stores to enhance performance may become corrupt over time. When this happens, the only solution is to delete the corrupt data by wiping the cache partition from the Android Recovery menu.

Step 1: Pull your Galaxy S20’s notification bar and click its power icon.


Note: Using a compatible USB cable, you must connect your
Samsung Galaxy S20 to a PC.
Step 2: Click Power Off.

Step 3: Click Power Off again to shut the Galaxy S20 down.

Step 4: Hold your Galaxy S20’s volume up and power keys simultaneously.

Step 5: Release these buttons when a Samsung logo appears and wait for the
Android Recovery menu to load on your Galaxy S20 screen.

Step 6: Select “Wipe cache partition.”

Step 7: Select Yes to start wiping its cache partition.

Step 8: Wait until a “Cache wipe complete” message appears
at the bottom dialogue box.

Step 9: Select “Reboot system now” to restart your Galaxy S20
and wait for it to boot up.

FIX 7. Update your phone

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps6
Time to Perform Fix5 minutes
Things NeededA Samsung Galaxy S20
A working internet connection

Downloading a software update for your Samsung Galaxy S20 is the best way to improve performance. This way, you can correct the recurring bugs and glitches on your Samsung Galaxy S20’s old software version.

It’s actually why developers refer to these updates as patches, as they cover the holes causing the errors in your Galaxy S20’s system software.

Therefore, putting your Samsung phone in optimal condition via a software update should improve the reliability of its fingerprint scanner. With this, you can unlock your phone using its in-display sensor without issues.

Step 1: Go to Settings.

Step 2: Scroll down and open the Software Update menu.

Step 3: Click “Download and Install.”

Step 4: Click Download on the next page if the “Auto-download
over WiFi” feature wasn’t enabled.
Step 5: Click Install Now to upgrade your Galaxy S20’s system software.

Step 6: Wait as your Samsung Galaxy S20 installs the update and reboots.

FIX 8. Reset your phone

Difficulty Easy ●●○○○
Number of Steps7
Time to Perform Fix3 minutes
Things NeededA Samsung Galaxy S20

Unfortunately, a software update can’t always fix your Samsung Galaxy S20’s system bugs and errors. It’s especially true when the reason behind the Galaxy S20 fingerprint scanner problem is corrupt files or malware.

In such cases, your only option is to delete these harmful files and malware via a factory reset. However, the caveat is that you also lose essential files and installed apps during this process.

WARNING: A factory reset deletes all your stored files, apps, and phone preferences. It’s best to retain a copy before proceeding. 

Thus, we only suggest using this method after trying the other solutions in this guide. After all, losing your saved data is a significant downside, and there’s no way to recover them unless you back them up beforehand using Samsung’s cloud service.

Step 1: Go to Settings.

Step 2: Open the General Management menu.

Step 3: Go to Reset.


Note: You can also select the backup and restore option to save
your user data for restoration afterward.
Step 4: Click “Factory data reset.”

Step 5: Scroll down and click Reset to continue.

Step 6: Enter your pin.

Step 7: Click “Delete All” to restore your Galaxy S20’s factory defaults.

FIX 9. Enable fingerprint as an unlock option

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps9
Time to Perform Fix1 minute and 40 seconds
Things NeededA Samsung Galaxy S20

If your Samsung Galaxy S20’s fingerprint scanner isn’t working, it’s likely because you haven’t turned this feature on. Therefore, you must double-check whether or not the fingerprint scanner is an unlock option for your Samsung Galaxy S20.

After all, troubleshooting your Samsung phone is worthless if you never enabled this feature all this time. If the fingerprint unlock feature isn’t active, navigate to your Galaxy S20’s biometrics and security menu and toggle it using the steps below.

Step 1: Go to Settings.

Step 2: Scroll down and open the “Biometrics and security menu.

Step 3: Scroll down and click the Fingerprints option.

Step 4: Toggle the Fingerprint Unlock switch on to enable this feature.

FIX 10. Contact Samsung’s customer support

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps1
Time to Perform Fix30 to 60 seconds
Things NeededA Samsung Galaxy S20
A working internet connection

If your Galaxy S20’s fingerprint scanner problems persist after using the tricks in this guide, that’s your cue to contact Samsung customer support. This way, their agents can help with your device’s faulty fingerprint scanner.

You may even ask to set an appointment with a local Samsung store or service center. If your Galaxy S20 is under warranty, they can repair or replace it for free.


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