Although the biometric security on modern iPhones and Android phones is really convenient, it isn’t always a good idea to leave it on. Fortunately, your phone likely features a biometric killswitch that can quickly unlock any biometric lock. You only need to learn how to use it.
Why Should Biometrics Be Disabled?
The inability to conceal your biometric information is one of the key drawbacks of biometric security. You can easily see and obtain information about your bodily parts, including your fingerprints and iris patterns. Criminals or law enforcement can force a finger onto the fingerprint lock if they steal your phone.
A confiscated phone with iris or face unlocking only has to be pointed at you if you are not physically touched. You cannot abruptly change your biometrics, but a passcode or password can be “forgotten” and is very difficult to guess without deleting the phone.
Android Biometrics Disabled (9 and Up)
Using Lockdown Mode in Android 9 or later is the best way to rapidly eliminate biometric unlocking techniques. This is a common feature that functions similarly on all current Android phones, albeit different brands of Android phones might have minor variations in how this setting is activated or functions. By rapidly tapping the power button five times while it’s in this mode, you can turn off biometrics. This may also initiate an emergency call on some phone models, but you may simply end the call before it is placed.
iPhone biometrics can be turned off
Both Touch ID and Face ID, which unlock your phone using a fingerprint or facial scan respectively, are available on iPhones. This is convenient (and quick), but if your phone is stolen, it could become a liability. Apple provides a quick method to temporarily disable biometrics until you input your passcode, which is fantastic news. In contrast to Android, it is already set up and ready to use.
Hold the side and volume up buttons together until “Slide to Power Off” appears. Biometrics are then disabled, and the procedure can be finished without really turning off the phone. “Hey Siri, whose phone is this?” is another command you can make if Hey Siri is turned on. Biometrics will also be disabled when Siri responds—useful if you don’t have access to your phone’s buttons.
Getting Ready for the Worst
You may still prepare to render your phone useless to any adversary if it is seized and unlocked using your biometrics. Using an app or, in some circumstances, a built-in function of the phone, you can store genuinely sensitive data in a separate, encrypted vault. If at all possible, you should just store encrypted files in the cloud and not keep a copy on your phone.
If you have any apps that let you unlock your phone using its biometrics, you might want to disable that feature on a case-by-case basis. Your banking app, for instance, is a key target. Think about turning off biometrics while logging into your banking app.
Kill Switches for Biometrics on Other Devices
The two most common mobile operating systems are Android and iOS, but biometric unlocking is available on many other devices outside smartphones. If you utilize biometric security elsewhere in your life, such as for laptop computers, smart home applications, security, or other purposes, find out if there is a quick way to turn it off. Before deciding to implement biometric systems everywhere, you might also want to learn a little more about the fundamental issues they all have.