Android 15 can automatically delete face or fingerprint unlock if it’s not working well

Ryan Haines/Android Authority

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  • Strings in the latest Android 15 beta indicate that the operating system can automatically delete biometrics that are not working well.
  • Android will delete face or fingerprint unlock when it’s not working well, then prompt you to set it up again.
  • We don’t know how the operating system identifies when biometrics isn’t working well or whether this feature exists yet in the latest Android 15 beta.

Most Android phones, even budget phones, have some sort of biometric authentication method, whether it’s through a fingerprint scanner or facial recognition. However, the accuracy of these sensors can vary widely between devices due to differences in sensor technology, the specific part used, the specific adjustment made by the vendor, and even the user’s environmental conditions. Internet forums are full of users complaining about their phones’ biometrics, and one of the most common recommendations for fixing biometric authentication issues is to re-register their fingerprints or faces. The upcoming Android 15 release may help users proactively re-enroll poorly performing biometrics.

While digging into the latest Android 15 beta, I discovered new strings in the operating system’s framework that suggest Android will automatically detect when your face or fingerprint models aren’t working well, delete them, and then prompt you to set them up again. Android 15 will display a notification that your face or fingerprint model is “not working well and has been deleted.” Set it up again to “unlock your phone” using your face or fingerprint. Since Android only lets you register one face, the notification that appears to re-register your face will be slightly different than the notification that appears to re-register your fingerprint, but there’s no functional difference. Here are the strings involved:

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code

"Your face model wasn't working well and was deleted. Set it up again to unlock your phone with face."
Set up Face Unlock again

code

"%s wasn't working well and was deleted to improve performance"
"%1$s and %2$s weren't working well and were deleted to improve performance"
"%s wasn't working well and was deleted. Set it up again to unlock your phone with fingerprint."
"%1$s and %2$s weren't working well and were deleted. Set them up again to unlock your phone with your fingerprint."
Set up Fingerprint Unlock again

Android already allows users to manually delete a face model or fingerprint by going to Settings > Security & privacy > Device unlock > Fingerprint and face unlockto choose Open face or Fingerprint unlockthen press “Delete the face modelbutton or trash icon respectively. However, it is difficult for users to know when they should do this because they will have to keep track of how many times their face or fingerprint fails to unlock their device.

However, Android can track these failures better, making it easier for the operating system to know when a particular face or fingerprint model should be redesigned. It’s not yet clear how many times a face or fingerprint model has to fail before Android decides it needs to redesign it, though I’m sure the threshold must be very high. We haven’t been able to test this feature yet and we’re not even sure if it’s in the latest Android 15 beta, so we can only guess how it will work.

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Google is expected to launch the third beta of Android 15 – Android 15 Beta 3 – sometime soon, as the company yesterday evening pushed out a new set of Generic System Images (GSIs) through Android’s dynamic system updates mechanism. Although the build pushed by Google doesn’t contain any Pixel-specific changes, it will likely be based on the same code base used to compile the upcoming Android 15 Beta 3 update for Pixel phones. Furthermore, any changes observed in the Android 15 Beta 3 GSI can be considered part of the Android Open Source Project, or AOSP, meaning they will be included in all devices that upgrade to Android 15.

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