Samsung has reportedly started shipping out a software update to fix the fingerprint scanner in its Galaxy S10 and Note 10 devices.
Details about the update are slim but the news isn't surprising. Just days ago, the company launched a campaign of public service announcements warning users about the issues the new update fixes. That was driven through the media and its own apps.
The problem stems from patterns stored in gel-based screen protectors. Summarily, the scanner was inaccurately recognizing those patterns as a fingerprint. That allowed just about anybody to unlock the phones.
Prior to this, Samsung had first asked users to stop using those types of screen protectors immediately to prevent security breaches. They also strongly suggesting users re-register their fingerprints just to be on the safe side.
Now, the company hopes to issue a fix that will alleviate the issue.
Not a first for the fingerprint scanner but hopefully the last
How quickly this update has arrived is likely indicative of Samsung's eagerness to avoid further negative publicity surrounding its fingerprint scanning technology. That's because this isn't the first update the South Korean tech giant has been forced to push out for that.
Samsung's Galaxy S10 series was also updated for fingerprint reader problems immediately following its launch. That update followed a battery of reports pointing to serious performance issues.
In most cases, the complaints were centered on how slow the scanners performed. But there were also reports that the scanner was difficult to use, to begin with. That's not entirely unexpected since scanners are built around what was a new in-display 3D ultrasonic scanning technology. That not only renders most glass screen protectors useless. It also requires users to press into the screen more firmly to get an accurate reading.
Aside from those reports, users also suggested that the readers often returned false negatives. Summarily, even a presumably good fingerprint scan didn't always let users into their locked devices.
That issue seems slight in comparison to the severe security implications of the latest challenges Samsung is facing. Stacked together, the issues have the potential for causing real harm to the brand. That's especially true as it pertains to Samsung's position as a leader in innovative new technologies.
The update is live now but as with any update, could take a while
The company had initially asked users to re-register their fingerprints with their smartphones. The same remains advisable once the update to the system arrives to fix underlying problems. That should prevent any remnants of faulty scans from cropping back up.
In the meantime, Samsung's update is not going to be unilateral. Even standard firmware updates are staggered in their arrival. Simultaneously, there are no fewer than seven devices in the combined series that will need to be updated.
So Samsung says that it will be alerting users that have registered biometric security data. Then the fix should arrive over-the-air as a standard update. While not implicitly stated, that seems to imply that users who might be suffering from the problem directly will see the fingerprint scanner fix arrive first from Samsung.