CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

How to unlock the Note 7 using the iris scanner

Technology has a way of making us feel like we're living in the future, and this is definitely one of those times.

Close
Drag
Autoplay: ON Autoplay: OFF

Your fingerprint is no longer the reigning champ of phone security. Iris scanning on the new Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is fast, secure and undeniably futuristic.

In fact, using it makes you feel like a CIA agent gaining access to a top secret device. Or at least, I assume it's the same feeling. (Note: I'm not a CIA operative, nor do I have top secret info on my phone.) For right now, you can use the iris scanner to unlock your device, but in the near future you will be able to authorize Samsung Pay transactions.

The setup process is simple, since you don't have to authenticate your eyes multiple times, the way you do with fingerprints. Scan your eyes once, and you're done.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Before you begin the process, there are a few things we should get out of the way.

  • According to a disclaimer shown during setup, anyone who suffers from dizziness, seizures, or epileptic symptoms should not use the iris scanner.
  • Also, users shouldn't use the scanner on a infant (don't know why you would) as it could damage his or her eyesight.
  • Only use "approved" screen protectors on the Note 7.
  • Finally you need to keep the device at least 8 inches away from your eyes when using it.

Now let's get to teaching your Note 7 what your eyes look like. If you wear glasses or contacts, you will need to take them off for the initial setup.

Setting up the iris scanner

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

On the Note 7, go to Settings > Lock screen and security > Irises and enter your device PIN or password if you've set one up. Approve the disclaimer, then follow the prompts on the screen.

Essentially, you need to open your eyes wide, hold it close enough but not too close, and at the right level. If you run into trouble with setup, try going to a dark room or at least moving to a place where you're not in a brightly lit area.

samsung-note-7-iris-scanner-unlock.jpg
Jason Cipriani/CNET

After the phone successfully scans your irises, you are asked to turn on Iris unlock. You can also opt to unlock your Samsung account using your eyes.

Going forward, you can unlock your device just by waking it and sliding a finger towards the top of the screen. A red light will turn on, just to the left of the ear piece at the top of the phone while it reads your eyes. Ideally, you will see the light for a split second and then the device will unlock.

If you run into trouble, the phone will guide you through getting the scan just right. If all else fails, you can still enter your PIN or use a fingerprint to unlock the device.

After just a few hours of playing with the new feature, it's been hit or miss when it comes to reading my eyes with my glasses on. With contacts, though, it hardly ever fails.

screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Fun tip! You can change the mask that's placed over your eyes during a scan under the "Mask on preview screen" label in the Irises Settings page. There's a total of five masks available, ranging from animals to robots.