How to Get Face Unlock on Any Phone

How to Get Face Unlock on Any Phone

Face unlock, one of the OnePlus 5T‘s best new features, bypasses the lock screen in less than 0.2 seconds by analyzing over 100 facial identifiers, performing a “liveness” check to make sure the aforementioned face isn’t from a picture or video, and analyzing shadows, bright areas, and reflections. But the OnePlus 5T isn’t the only smartphone with facial recognition. An increasing number of Android OEMs including Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi have begun to ship facial unlock features on flagship Android devices, and crafty developers have ported some of those face unlock implementations to Android devices that don’t offer them natively.

Whether you’ve just picked up a new phone with native face unlock or you’re rocking an older Android phone without it, our guide will show you how to set up, configure, and get face unlock on any Android phone.

By Kyle Wiggers

Face Unlock on Samsung Phones

Galaxy S9

Samsung is no newcomer to the face unlock trend. It’s supported facial unlock in some form or another since the Galaxy S2 launched in 2011, and newer phones including the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, and Galaxy Note 8 are no exception. Here’s how to set up face unlock on a Samsung phone.

How to Set Up Face Unlock on a Samsung Phone

If you’re the proud owner of a Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S9, or Galaxy S9+, you’ll be pleased to learn that setting up Face Unlock is relatively easy. Here’s how to get started.

  • Settings shortcut.
  • Select Lock Screen, then Security.
  • Tap Face Recognition.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions. You’ll be prompted to create a PIN or a password if you haven’t already.
  • Tap turn on facial recognition as your preferred phone unlocking method.

Once you complete the setup process, you’ll have the option of toggling the unlock speed, but Samsung says that faster facial recognition is less secure.

How to Set Up Face Unlock on the Galaxy S5, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3, and Galaxy S II

Setting up face unlock older Samsung phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3, and Galaxy S II is a bit more involved. Follow these steps to get it working.

  • From the home screen, select the Applications shortcut.
  • Tap Settings, then Security.
  • Select Face unlock from the Screen lock menu (under the Screen security subheading).
  • On the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S5, you’ll have to select Face unlock from the Select screen lock menu.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions. You’ll be prompted to create a PIN or a password if you haven’t already.

Face Unlock on Xiaomi Phones

Xiaomi Redmi 5

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro, Mi Mix 2, and Mi 6 recently gained a face unlock feature via an over-the-air MIUI Global Stable update. It’s pretty easy to set up.

  • Open the app drawer and select the Settings shortcut.
  • Tap Lock screen, password and fingerprint (or Lock screen & password on the Mi 3).
  • Select the Add face data option, then the Next button.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup process. You’ll be prompted to create a PIN or a password if you haven’t already.

By default, you’ll have to switch on you’re phone’s screen to get face unlock working, but checking the Allow face unlock when screen lights up option automatically enables face unlock every time you receive a notification. Note, though, that it drains the battery a bit quicker.

How to Set Up Face Unlock on the Xiaomi Redmi 4, Xiaomi Redmi 4X, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, and Mi Max Prime

Not all Xiaomi device ship with face unlock, but luckily, there are workarounds. You’ll need a custom recovery menu such as TWRP to take advantage.

Here’s how to get face unlock on the Xiaomi Redmi 4 and Redmi 4X, courtesy XDA Junior Member shubhandu. The method’s been tested on MIUI 9, the latest version of Xiaomi’s aftermarket Android software.

  • Download this ZIP file on your phone.
  • Reboot your phone and boot into the custom recovery menu by holding down the volume up and power button simultaneously.
  • Flash the ZIP file using a custom recovery menu. (In TWRP, tap the Install button, navigate to your phone’s internal storage, and select the file you downloaded earlier.) There’s no need to clear the cache.
  • Reboot your phone.

And here’s how to get face unlock on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and Mi Max Prime. It doesn’t work on MIUI 8; you’ll have to update to MIUI 9 before proceeding.

  • Download this ZIP file on your phone.
  • Reboot your phone and boot into the custom recovery menu by holding down the volume up and power button simultaneously.
  • Flash the ZIP file using a custom recovery menu. (In TWRP, tap the Install button, navigate to your phone’s internal storage, and select the file you downloaded earlier.) Again, there’s no need to clear the cache.
  • Reboot your phone.

Alternatively, there’s a Magisk Module available via Magisk Manager.

Once you’ve installed face unlock on the Xiaomi 4, Redmi 4, Redmi 4X, Redmi Note 4, or Mi Max Prime, you’ll have to configure it. Luckily, it’s not too challenging.

  • Open the app drawer and select the Settings shortcut.
  • Tap Lock screen & password.
  • Select the Add face data option, then the Next button.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup process. You’ll be prompted to create a PIN or a password if you haven’t already.

Face Unlock on OnePlus Phones

How to Set Up Face Unlock on the OnePlus 5T

The OnePlus 5T ships with a native face unlock feature. You’ll be prompted to enable it during the initial setup, but if you opted to skip it initially, here’s how to configure it from the Settings menu.

  • Open the app drawer and select the Settings shortcut.
  • Tap Security & Privacy, then Face Unlock.
  • Select Add Face Data.

How to Set Up Face Unlock on the OnePlus 5, OnePlus 3T, and OnePlus 3

Setting up face unlock on the OnePlus 5, OnePlus 3T, and OnePlus 3 requires enrolling in the OxygenOS Open Beta program. (It’ll eventually come to a stable version of OxygenOS, but that’s yet to happen as of publication time.) You’ll find the firmware files on OnePlus’s website; simply head to the corresponding webpage, find the latest Open Beta release, and click Continue to Download. Then, follow the step-by-step instructions to flash the update.

Once you’ve flashed the newest OxygenOS beta on your OnePlus phone, you’re ready to move onto the next step: Enabling facial unlock.

  • Open the app drawer and select the Settings shortcut.
  • Tap Security & Privacy, then Face Unlock.
  • Select Add Face Data.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup process. You’ll be prompted to create a PIN or a password if you haven’t already.

Face Unlock on Huawei and Honor Phones

How to Set Up Face Unlock on the Huawei Mate 10, Mate 10 Lite, Honor View 10, and Mate 9i

Huawei devices such as the Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Lite, and Mate 9i have gained face unlock via over-the-air updates to Emotion UI (EMUI), Huawei’s custom Android skin.

  • Open the app drawer and select the Settings shortcut.
  • Scroll down to Face unlock and tap it.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup process. You’ll be prompted to create a PIN or a password if you haven’t already.

Once you’ve set up face unlock, you can customize it in the Face unlock menu. Direct unlock automatically starts face unlock after the phone’s screen turns on, while Slide to unlock requires you to unlock the phone with a swipe gesture after your face is recognized. Finally, Smart lock screen notifications hides the content of notifications on the lock screen until your face is recognized.

How to Set Up Face Unlock on the Honor 9 Lite, Honor V10, Honor 7X, and Nova 2i

On the Honor 9 Lite, Honor V10, and Honor 7X (running EMUI 8 or newer) and the Huawei Nova 2i (running EMUI 5.1 and up), you’ll find Face unlock in the Security & privacy menu.

  • Open the app drawer and select the Settings shortcut.
  • Select Security & privacy.
  • Tap Face unlock.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup process. You’ll be prompted to create a PIN or a password if you haven’t already.

How to Set Up Face Unlock on the Honor 8 Pro and Huawei P10 Plus

The Honor 8 Pro and Huawei P10 Plus didn’t ship with a face unlock feature, but that hasn’t stopped developers from porting the facial unlock feature to them from the Honor V10’s firmware. You’ll need Magisk Manager or a custom recovery menu such as TWRP to get it working, but assuming you meet one of those prerequisites, you’re good to go.

  • Download this ZIP file on your phone.
  • Reboot your phone and boot into the custom recovery menu.
  • In TWRP, make sure you have /odm and /product directories. If you don’t, you’ll have to update your phone to the latest version of EMUI.
  • Flash the ZIP using a custom recovery menu. (In TWRP, tap the Install button, navigate to your phone’s internal storage, and select the file you downloaded earlier.)
  • Reboot your phone.

Once your phone’s finished booting, it’s time to enable face unlock.

  • Open the app drawer and select the Settings shortcut.
  • Select Security & privacy.
  • Tap Face unlock.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup process. You’ll be prompted to create a PIN or a password if you haven’t already.

How to Set Up Face Unlock on the Ascend Y300 and Older Huawei Devices

To get face unlock on the Huawei Ascend Y300 and other, older Huawei and Honor devices, follow these steps.

  • Open the app drawer and select the Settings shortcut.
  • Tap Security.
  • Select Screen lock and Face Unlock. 
  • Follow the on-screen steps to complete the setup process. You’ll be prompted to create a PIN or a password if you haven’t already.

Face Unlock on Google Pixel Phones

visual core

The Google Pixel 2, Google Pixel 2 XL, and other Google Pixel devices tap Google’s Smart Lock, an OEM-agnostic (i.e., not just on Sony phones) security feature that automatically unlocks your phone in certain scenarios. As you might have guessed, one of those scenarios involves facial recognition.

Smart Lock’s face unlock option is called Trusted face, and it works pretty much like every other camera-based facial unlock system out there. Once you follow the steps to save your face data, your phone will automatically unlock at the lock screen. Here’s how to get it up and running.

  • Open the app drawer and select the Settings shortcut.
  • Select Security & location.
  • Tap Smart Lock (under the subheading Device security)
  • Select Trusted face.
  • Follow the on-screen steps to complete the setup process. You’ll be prompted to create a PIN or a password if you haven’t already.

You can improve the accuracy of facial unlock at any time by returning to the Trusted face menu and tapping on Improve face matching. (Try this if you wear glasses or if your phone’s having trouble recognizing you in different lighting conditions.) Note that if you haven’t unlocked your phone in more than four hours, you’ll have to use a PIN, password, or pattern.

Face Unlock on Sony Phones

sony xperia xa2

Newer Sony devices such as the Xperia XZ2 Compact, Xperia XA1 Plus, Xperia XA1 Ultra, and Xperia XZ1 use Google’s Smart Lock feature for facial unlock.

  • Open the app drawer and select the Settings shortcut.
  • Select Lock screen & security, then Trust agents.
  • Tap the slider next to Smart Lock (under the subheading Device security). Then tap the back button.
  • Find and tap Smart Lock. 
  • Select Trusted face.
  • Follow the on-screen steps to complete the setup process. You’ll be prompted to create a PIN or a password if you haven’t already.

Again, note that if you haven’t unlocked your phone in more than four hours, you’ll have to use a PIN, password, or pattern.

Some users report that an October 2017 security update broke face unlock functionality on the Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact. If you see a blank screen after tapping Smart Lock in the settings menu, try this troubleshooting suggestion.

  • Disable Trusted Agents in the Security settings menu.
  • Restart the phone.
  • Enable Security settings.

How to Set Up Face Unlock on the Sony Xperia Z, Xperia M, Xperia Z1, and Other Sony Phones

Setting up face unlock on the Sony Xperia Z, Xperia M, and Xperia Z1, and other older Sony phones isn’t too difficult. You’ll find the options menu in Settings.

  • Open the app drawer and select the Settings shortcut.
  • Tap Security (under the Personal subheading).
  • Select Screen lock (under the Screen security subheading) and Face Unlock. Follow the on-screen steps to complete the setup process. You’ll be prompted to create a PIN or a password if you haven’t already.

Face Unlock on LG Phones

lg v30s

How to Set Up Face Unlock on the LG V30

You’ll find the LG V30‘s face unlock settings in the Lock screen & security section of the settings menu.

  • Open the app drawer and select the Settings shortcut.
  • Tap Lock screen & security.
  • From the Security section, tap Face Recognition. You’ll be prompted to create a PIN or a password if you haven’t already. Follow the on-screen steps to complete the setup process.

How to Set Up Face Unlock on the LG G6

On the LG G6, head to the Display settings submenu to configure face unlock.

  • Open the app drawer and select the Settings shortcut.
  • Select Display, then Lock screen.
  • Tap Face Recognition.
  • Follow the on-screen steps to complete the setup process.

You can return to the Face Recognition menu at any time to improve the accuracy of facial unlock. Just tap the Improve face recognition button and follow the instructions on screen.

How to Set Up Face Unlock on the LG V20, LG G4, and LG G5

The LG V20, LG G4, and LG G5 use Google’s Smart Lock feature for face unlock.

  • Open the app drawer and select the Settings shortcut.
  • Select Lock screen.
  • Tap Smart Lock (under the subheading Device security)
  • Select Trusted face.
  • Follow the on-screen steps to complete the setup process. You’ll be prompted to create a PIN or a password if you haven’t already.

Again, note that if you haven’t unlocked your phone in more than four hours, you’ll have to use a PIN, password, or pattern.

How to Set Up Face Unlock on the LG G3 and LG G2

Here’s how to enable face unlock on older LG phones such as the LG G2 and LG G3.

  • Open the app drawer and select the Settings shortcut.
  • Select Lock screen, then Select screen lock. 
  • Tap Face Unlock. 
  • Follow the on-screen steps to complete the setup process. You’ll be prompted to create a PIN or a password if you haven’t already.

Face Unlock on HTC Phones