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)