• Samsung Galaxy S3 Tips: Face Unlock

    I received my Verizon version of the Samsung Galaxy S3 last week, so I will now hand out free tips.  You’re welcome.  Today I will cover the Face Unlock feature, which is actually available on any ol’ Android phone running Ice Cream Sandwich.  It goes something like this:  When you want to unlock the phone, normally you would swipe your finger across the screen.  But Apple decided that they own that feature, so now you must use your face. Okay, that’s not exactly accurate.  You can still use the swiping motion, which by default looks like water and is sort of fun, but it’s even more fun to use your face.  I mean, when isn’t it, really?

    So to use the Face Unlock, follow these steps.

    Step 1.  Go to Face Unlock.  This may seem obvious but then again, you might have no idea where to find it.  Do this.  Press on the menu button, then settings, then security.

    Then press Screen Lock:

    Then under Screen Lock , choose Face Unlock.  It will warn you that it’s not really that secure, because apparently someone can just hold a picture of you up to the phone and unlock it, if they felt like it.  It does seem like that would be a lot of work though, because they would have to have a picture of you available.  Or maybe if you’re getting mugged and the mugger knocks you out, they could hold your head up to it and unlock it that way.  Maybe that’s what it means by “low security.”  Anyway…

    2.  Follow the prompts to set it up.  Initially, it will take a picture of your face.  However, as we all know, your face may look different at any given moment.  We will get to that in a minute.  Right now just do what the phone says, and when it’s done, also follow the prompts to set your screen unlock pattern or PIN for those moments when the Face Unlock invariably fails.

    3.  Now that that’s done, you need to go back to the security settings (second picture above) and click on Improve Facial Recognition.  Spend the next 15 minutes walking around your house, improving your image from all different angles and lighting, with glasses, without glasses, with your nighttime acne cream, without your nighttime acne cream, wearing a ski mask, not wearing a ski mask  and, most importantly, making weird faces, like so:

    This way, if the phone ever catches you in the middle of a yawn, or when you just wake up, or when you’re yelling at your kids to stop looking at dodgy videos on Youtube, or when you just feel like making a weird face, it will recognize you.

    One tip:  Mine generally doesn’t recognize me if I am holding it down near my lap and I look at it.  It tells me I have an extra chin that is not there when it sees me from a more level angle.  Galaxy is judgy, did I mention that?  She has a “tone” that she uses that is reminiscent of GLADoS from Portal.


    Next time, I will address S Voice and what the S stands for.  (Hint, it’s not Siri)


12 Responses so far.

  1. Carolyn Harvey says:

    Great (funny)

  2. Karla says:

    Sucks, looks like i dont have that feature on mine. Wonder if Sprint took that away?

    • Michael says:

      Its there. On Galaxy S III, go to settings, lock screen,screen lock, then pick which one you want

  3. Anthony McGuiness says:

    I have the newest S3 but my screens do not look the same. I guess the newer S3 doesn’t have the face recognition, or possibly verizon? Bummer. The sales staff mentioned it in there selling points and I didn’t get it.

    • Hi Anthony – I wrote this when the phone first came out, and it has since been upgraded to Jelly Bean. However, the option is still there. Go to Settings, then Lock Screen, then Screen Lock, and Face Unlock is the third option down on that screen.

  4. Joe Jobling says:

    My new s3 has no face unlock in the screen lock options

  5. aakash says:

    I agree with people above …. I have s3 and I dont have a face recognition feature…. I went to lock screenthen. Screen lock . Aftwr that I could onyo draw a pattern…

  6. anisha says:

    It is on your phone u hav to update your software

  7. Judith says:

    It is not on my s3 not under security nor lock screen. Anisha how do i upgrade my software?

  8. Judith says:

    Face unlock is on the s3 go to settings then lock screen, screen lock (secured with pattern) then enter your pattern and you will face unlock third option down

    • Charlie says:

      It is on all S3 phones. You do not have to update anything. Its there by default.

  9. -Kripto- says:

    Tech Mom, is right on the money! Everything she says is there. Another fine feature with Facial Rec, is the phone wont fall asleep as long as you’re looking at the screen! @bkripto BkPgh X-øbk/CMU/ <-

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