Updated: Video Shows Galaxy S8 Facial Recognition Tricked By A Photo [Samsung's Response]

By Holly Brockwell on at

Updated 1/4: We've now received a statement from Samsung in regards to this video – see our edit at the end.

The facial recognition unlock on the new Galaxy S8 was one of the features Samsung talked up at the launch, but a video has already emerged showing it being tricked by a photo of the user.

The video, by iDeviceHelp, shows the phone unlocking (after a few attempts) by a fullscreen selfie held above it on another S8. Maybe the screen is too accurate for its own good...?

Seriously, though, this is not a great start for the S8. We get the impression the phone was rushed a little towards the end, having already been postponed from February's MWC to a March launch, with the April availability date also pushed back a week.

At the event, we were told that the much-hyped Samsung Bixby virtual assistant will only be in Korean at first, with English to follow, and our event chaperones wouldn't let us try unlocking at all. Now, it appears facial recognition wasn't ready either.

This is something that can be fixed with software before the phone actually makes it into users' hands, but it's concerning that Samsung allowed a feature this easily fooled to appear at the launch. Testing face unlock with a photo is literally the first thing everyone tries, and it's baffling how it got past quality control.

Still, as Samsung handset problems go, it's kind of a small one compared to last year's.

Update: Samsung's response

A Samsung spokesperson sent us the following statement regarding this video:

"The Galaxy S8 provides various levels of biometric authentication, with the highest level of authentication from the iris scanner and fingerprint reader.

In addition, the Galaxy S8 provides users with multiple options to unlock their phones through both biometric security options, and convenient options such as swipe and facial recognition.

It is important to reiterate that facial recognition, while convenient, can only be used for opening your Galaxy S8 and currently cannot be used to authenticate access to Samsung Pay or Secure Folder."

Samsung also drew our attention to the disclaimer on the phone:

In other words, if you want to keep pranksters out of your phone, probably best not to use face unlock.