Home Android How to Fix Nexus 6P Fingerprint Scanner Problems

How to Fix Nexus 6P Fingerprint Scanner Problems

Google’s new Nexus 6P and Nexus 5x have some of the best fingerprint scanners on the market. They’re easy to use, fast, and accurate, but some users are having problems. Whether it’s to unlock the phone, use Android Pay or other things, it isn’t always perfect. Here we go over a few helpful suggestions to fix Nexus 6P fingerprint scanner problems.

In October the Nexus 6P debuted with an all-new fingerprint scanner similar to Apple’s TouchID, only it was around back. Instantly many reviews mentioned how great it was, learns fingers faster than the Galaxy S6 or Note 5 and more.

Read: How to Reset a Frozen Nexus 6P

Occasionally we get questions from users having problems, and see them in forums or Google+ comments as well. Most are in regards to it failing to recognize a finger, and won’t unlock users devices, and most end up typing in the backup password, pattern, or pin. If you’re having problems, below are a few helpful tips, suggestions, and tricks to improve the experience.

Nexus 6P-case-soft

The fingerprint scanner on Google’s two new Nexus devices are amazing and fast. They’re right where an index finger naturally rests, making unlocking the phone natural and fast. It’s extremely easy to use, setup, and enjoy. My own Nexus 6P has no problems, and works nearly every time even months later, but that isn’t the case for everyone.

Read: How to Use the Fingerprint Scanner on the Nexus 6P

We’ve detailed how to use and setup the fingerprint scanner in our guide linked to above, so read on for some tips to fix any potential problems users are facing.

All it takes is a quick tap n hold less than a half a second, and the phone will unlock or do whatever it is owners are trying to do with their fingerprint. However, we’re seeing complaints that 40-50% of the time it doesn’t work, sometimes more, and users are getting frustrated. We don’t have this problem, so it could be a case, the saved scan, or other things.

If you’re having problems with the Nexus 6P or even the Nexus 5X fingerprint scanner, try these few things to improve the experience overall.

Nexus 6P Fingerprint Scanner Tips & Tricks

If your Nexus 6P fails to recognize a saved fingerprint it could be caused by a few different things. Below we’ll go through them all, the proper way to set up and insert your fingerprint, and a few other steps to avoid problems.

First up, if you’ve already added a fingerprint or two, make sure the scanner surface is clean, as it may not be getting an accurate reading. Dirt, pocket lint, fingerprint oil build-up and more could be causing it to malfunction and not get a 100% accurate reading.

However, the biggest thing is how you setup your fingerprint. The setup is pretty self explanatory, but also requires less taps than Samsung devices, so you must get all 6-8 of them right. If you didn’t do it perfect, you may want to delete them and redo each saved fingerprint. In the video below we’ve fast forward to entering a fingerprint, and it’s a good example of doing different angles, sides, areas, flat end or the tip of your finger.

Those having problems with it not being accurate and failing to read a finger, delete it and try again. Simply head to settings > security > Nexus imprint > Confirm Pin then add more, or tap and either rename or “Delete” the currently saved scans. Now just add it again, and take it slow, make it accurate, and make sure the scanner and fingers are clean.

Some forum members claim doubling the same finger in the system for a better chance of success, but this just makes the system more confused, so we’d recommend only doing one entry for each finger. Google claimed its system learns the “imprint” over time and gets better, so we’d only recommend deleting it if you’re truly experiencing a lot of issues.

So what could be causing problems? A case. If you’ve recently added a new case to the Nexus 6P the angle may be slightly different, causing issues with the scanner. I’m not experiencing this with the official case, but I also re-scanned and saved my imprint after I added the case. So some should try that as well. Here’s the instructions one more time just in case.

  1.  Head to Settings > Security
  2. Tap on Nexus Imprint
  3. Hit Continue, setup a backup password, pin, or pattern
  4. Follow the steps, tap the scanner 6 times, to save a fingerprint
  5. Once finished add more fingers, or one from your other hand
  6. Nexus Imprint learns as you use it, and becomes more accurate over time

Nexus5X-imprint

We’d recommend users setup both index fingers, as that makes the most sense, then add more if you’d like. Again, keep the case on if you use a case, and make sure fingers and the surface are clean.

Most users are enjoying the scanner without any issues whatsoever, but those who are having trouble should try deleting them and starting over using all of the information provided above. If things still aren’t working right we’d suggest maybe buying a different case, or doing a factory data reset (which will erase everything) and starting over completely. That is a last resort.

How is Nexus Imprint on your Nexus 5X or 6P working? Let us know in the comment section below.

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12 Comments

  1. Mariagberman

    02/11/2016 at 8:11 am

    0=122m­­­­­­­­­y b­­­­­­­­­e­­­­­­­­­s­­­­­­­­­t f­­­­­­­­­r­­­­­­­­­ie­­­­­­­­­nd’s si­­­­­­­­­st­­­­­­­­­er ma­­­­­­­­­ke­­­­­­­­­s $79 /ho­­­­­­­­­ur o­­­­­­­­­n t­­­­­­­­­he co­­­­­­­­­mp­­­­­­­­­ut­­­­­­­­­er . Sh­­­­­­­­­e h­­­­­­­­­as be­­­­­­­­­en wi­­­­­­­­­th­­­­­­­­­ou­­­­­­­­­t a jo­­­­­­­­­b f­­­­­­­­­or 9 mo­­­­­­­­­nt­­­­­­­­­hs b­­­­­­­­­ut la­­­­­­­­­st mo­­­­­­­­­nt­­­­­­­­­h he­­­­­­­­­r pa­­­­­­­­­y ch­­­­­­­­­ec­­­­­­­­­k w­­­­­­­­­as $21049 ju­­­­­­­­­st wo­­­­­­­­­rk­­­­­­­­­ing o­­­­­­­­­n t­­­­­­­­­he co­­­­­­­­­mp­­­­­­­­­ut­­­­­­­­­er f­­­­­­­­­or a f­­­­­­­­­ew ho­­­­­­­­­ur­­­­­­­­­s.
    fi­­­­­­­­­nd o­­­­­­­­­ut he­­­­­­­­­re… See More

    Reply

  2. thejarebear

    02/16/2016 at 2:44 pm

    Imprint has been amazingly accurate for me. I feel like all the people who are having problems, didn’t properly set up imprint correctly the first time. On the 6 taps to record my finger, not 1 scan matched any other. And because of it, I can honestly say I don’t recall a time when imprint failed to recognize my finger.

    Reply

  3. Tim

    02/22/2016 at 6:31 am

    It’s been utter garbage for me.I save one it works for a couple of days,then stops.every time.

    Reply

  4. Susan Barrett Price

    03/24/2016 at 2:11 pm

    First fingerprint reader failed gradually after a couple weeks. Scanner on second phone would not register any fingerprint. Just received third phone and scanner will not register my fingerprint, with message that “scanner is dirty.” (It is fresh out of the box.) Frustrated.

    Reply

    • paul

      07/02/2016 at 12:42 pm

      check out my post below ….. I just fixed my fingerprint sensor !!!!

      Reply

  5. Harley

    04/27/2016 at 1:35 am

    Nexus “IMPRINT” is totally GONE from my 5X’s Menu options! Had the phone almost 7 months and now this! WTF!

    Reply

    • brett

      05/05/2016 at 5:26 am

      Harley, this just happened to me as well. Worked all day, went on a run, and it just didn’t work anymore. You’ll have to get a warranty replacement sent out. They’ll do it with no questions asked. Apparently when the hardware for the scanner is disconnected from the motherboard, the option in security just disappears. Looks like its fairly easy to repair on your own, but until my year warranty is up, I’ll let Google deal with it.

      Reply

      • Harley

        05/05/2016 at 4:07 pm

        Thanks Brett for your response. I was pretty surprised to read how “common” this issue is for 5X owners! Considering this was my 1st EVER new phone purchase (I’m an Ebay addict!) I’m pretty pissed off. But being that I am a “fix it yourself” guy, I just rooted it (really easy, but you have to have a bit of tech. knowledge and some amount of bravery!) and now it WORKS again! Plus I can get into the main root directories of the phone and delete anything I do not use, or even make more my phone more “customized”. The main hassles was TIME (3 hours) and having to be sure to back up everything on the phone before you root–so you basically are starting “fresh” after it’s rooted.

        Reply

        • Anna

          06/20/2016 at 11:50 pm

          Thanks for your response Harley. I assume your fingerprint scanner is working now. Once you have your 5X rooted, could you explain what did you do to get it work? Many thanks

          Reply

          • Harley Baldwin

            06/21/2016 at 12:16 am

            During the root process, the entire phone is wiped, so it’s like a full factory reset (except rooting gives additional benefits). So if you’re unfamiliar with rooting, or are hesitant to do that, try doing a factory reset first and see if the fingerprint sensor comes back, which is what happened with me. It’s basically like registering your phone from the beginning. Of course, with either rooting or doing a factory reset you lose ALL your data so look on line for how to make a backup of your phones data before trying either of the above mentioned methods. Good luck!

  6. Heidi

    05/16/2016 at 4:01 pm

    Having same problem with my Nexus 5x they said they will send me a new one bit want to put a hold on my bank account first until they get the old one .. Can you explain. How to fix myself

    Reply

  7. paul

    07/02/2016 at 12:38 pm

    I lost my fingerprint scanner for a month … till I figured this out . go to the security tab , and reset pin, and swipe , and password … back to the way it was when you first got the phone . all back to nothing set . then , turn off phone and turn back on …. the fingerprint imprint will re appear in the security section again . your welcome !!!!!!

    Reply

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