Some Sony Xperia 1 and 5 users are using tape to improve fingerprint scanner recognition
Sony’s Xperia 1 and Xperia 5 from last year were widely regarded as some of the best devices to come out of the company’s stables in the last few years. The devices packed top-of-the-line specifications, impressive camera setups, and stunning 21:9 OLED displays. Thanks to the tall CinemaWide displays with no notch or selfie camera cutouts, Sony’s flagships clearly stood out in comparison with flagship devices from other manufacturers. But the tall displays weren’t the only thing that Sony did differently with its flagships. Instead of featuring in-display fingerprint scanners like most of the flagships last year, Sony opted for side-mounted capacitive fingerprint scanners on the Xperia 1 and Xperia 5. The scanners were marginally faster than optical fingerprint scanners and the convenient location made them easy to access. However, according to several reports from Xperia 1 and Xperia 5 users worldwide, the fingerprint scanners aren’t as good as Sony chalked them up to be.
Of late, we’ve come across several threads on our Xperia 1 and Xperia 5 forums which highlight the poor performance of the side-mounted fingerprint scanners on the devices. Users have reported that it takes anywhere between 2 to 5 attempts for the devices to correctly recognize their fingerprint and, even after trying all the usual troubleshooting methods, the performance hasn’t improved. The problem is so widespread that users had even started a Change.org petition asking Sony to acknowledge the issue and announce a recall if the issue is due to a hardware defect. Sony has, in fact, acknowledged the issue and has created support pages for the Xperia 1 and Xperia 5, asking users to register their fingerprint again in a specific manner.
Searching for ‘Xperia 1 fingerprint’ on the SonyXperia subreddit also brings up a lot of threads related to the issue, with users mentioning several temporary solutions. One such solution asks users to cover the fingerprint scanner with a thin layer of Sellotape to improve its performance. Out of all the solutions we’ve seen so far, this one seems to have the highest success rate, with users in the comments claiming that applying any type of clear tape on the sensor improves its performance significantly.
According to XDA Junior Member AJB1971, who initially posted the solution on our forums, the “problem seems to be that the sensor picks up fingerprint oils really easily, an imprint is left behind, and that interferes with its ability to read new inputs…Cleaning this works sometimes, but it’s unreasonable to expect a user to have to do this repeatedly.” Adding a layer of Sellotape seems to prevent the coating from interfering with the sensor and improves its performance.
Thanks to XDA Recognized Developer Myself5, we learned that the Xperia 1 and Xperia 5 feature fingerprint scanners from Taiwan-based Egis Technology. As of now, neither company has confirmed if the issue is due to a hardware defect. You can try out the solution and let us know how far it improves the sensor functionality on your device.