Author(s): Chandrasekhar Bhagavatula, Blase Ur, Kevin Iacovino, Su Mon Kywey, Lorrie Faith Cranor, Marios Savvides

Download: Paper (PDF)

Date: 7 Feb 2015

Document Type: Briefing Papers

Additional Documents: Slides

Associated Event: NDSS Symposium 2015


While biometrics have long been promoted as the future of authentication, the recent introduction of Android face unlock and iPhone fingerprint unlock are among the first large scale deployments of biometrics for consumers. In a 10-participant, within-subjects lab study and a 198-participant online survey, we investigated the usability of these schemes, along with users’ experiences, attitudes, and adoption decisions. Participants in our lab study found both face unlock and fingerprint unlock easy to use in typical scenarios. The notable exception was that face unlock was completely unusable in a dark room. Most participants preferred fingerprint unlock over face unlock or a PIN. In our survey, most fingerprint unlock users perceived it as more secure and convenient than a PIN. In contrast, face unlock users had mixed experiences, and many had stopped using it. We conclude with design recommendations for biometric authentication on smartphones.