Biometrics have come a very long way since the original smartphones. As a welcome alternative to constantly typing in your PIN or password every time you want to unlock the phone, biometrics are both convenient and secure.
So how do the newest phones handle biometric security? Let’s compare a few to see how each stacks up.
The iPhone 14 is Apple’s current flagship device, and as has been the case since the iPhone X, the focus is on its face unlock feature. Apple refers to theirs as Face ID.
Fingerprint sensors weren’t actually available on the iPhone 13 or a few models before that, and that’s the case with all versions of the iPhone 14. Apple is so confident in its Face ID feature that it’s the primary focus of its biometric security.
Apple has dedicated specific hardware to ensure Face ID is as functional as possible. On the iPhone 13, there was a notch on the screen for a sensor, separate from the front camera, the sole purpose of which was to read your face. This has been made unnecessary with the 14, and you won’t find that notch sensor on the newest model. Those sensors are still there, but they’re less visible.
As a replacement for fingerprint sensors, Face ID is actually very impressive on the iPhone 14.
Not only is it accurate and reliable, but it can also even read your face while you’re wearing a face mask. You also have the option to add a trusted person’s face if you need to share your phone with someone else and don’t want to unlock it yourself every time before handing it to them.
Last year’s Pixel 6 was practically infamous for how weak its fingerprint scanner was. You had to use workarounds to get it to work correctly, such as by registering the same fingerprint several times in the hopes that the phone would recognize yours — even then, it lacked reliability. The Pixel 6 also didn’t have face unlock, a feature many were clamoring for in its sequel.
Thankfully, the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro’s biometrics are far superior to their previous models. Gone are the days of trying to use a fingerprint to unlock your phone several times. With all the issues the previous models had, Google knew they had to get the next year’s biometrics right, and they largely succeeded. Now, virtually no one is complaining about the biometrics on the Pixel 7 lineup.
Granted, not everything is perfect.
The face unlock is still a bit iffy and you might have difficulty registering your face if you want to use this feature. As with all other face unlocks, someone with a similar face can still get into your phone. Still, the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro are huge upgrades from their prequels and have very respectable biometrics that are securely kept in the phone’s renowned and proprietary Tensor M2 processor.
The Galaxy S22 has both fingerprint and face unlock, though they’re used for different purposes. You can use face unlock to access your phone’s home screen, but that’s about it — for apps that can utilize biometrics, such as banking apps and password managers, you’ll need to use the fingerprint sensor.
This means that the S22’s face unlock isn’t nearly as functional as the iPhone 14 Pro Max where you can use face unlock for virtually everything.
There’s also no dedicated hardware for face unlock like there is on the iPhone. With the S22, it’s all done with the front camera — there are no dedicated sensors, so it’s not as secure or as accurate as the iPhone.
All in all, the S22 has competent biometrics and a slightly faster fingerprint sensor than the Pixel 7, but don’t expect its face unlock to rival Apple’s offerings.