If you are tired of typing your password every time you turn on your computer, why not use the smartphone you always have on hand?
Fingerprint readers have been invading the smartphone world for years. Practical, secure and efficient, these biometric sensors have made unlocking our smartphone faster. For a device that is unlocked dozens or hundreds of times a day, this is a real benefit.
However, this technology has not become very popular on our laptops. Except for the top-of-the-range models, many computers do not have this very practical sensor. Fortunately, there is a trick to using your smartphone’s fingerprint reader to unlock your PC and avoid having to enter a complex password each time.
1Download the Windows client
This tip is very simple and only requires you to download an app on your phone and, of course, another one on your computer. The app is called Remote Fingerprint Unlock and is available on the Play Store.
First, take your PC and go to the app section on the Play Store. From there, follow the description link to find Windows executable.
Download the x86 version if your computer is 32-bit and the x64 version if it is 64-bit (if you don’t know, right-click on the Windows button then click “System” in the “Device Specifications” section should tell you “system type”).
Once the endless antivirus scanning by Google Drive and downloading is complete, install the app and give it the administrator privileges it requires.
Click on “Next” then “Install” then “Yes” when you are asked to create an exception in the Windows firewall. Once this is done, the app is installed.
2Download the Android app
Once the software is installed, you will not see it anywhere, which is normal. It is only active when your computer is locked. It is now time to download the application to your Android phone.
- Go to the application page on the Play Store and download the app.
- Make sure you are connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your computer.
- Lock your computer (Windows + L).
- Click on “Scan” in the window that opens when the app is launched.
- Press the blue arrow and then press “By scanning”.
- The name of your PC should appear.
- Click on it, give it the name you want.
- Unchecked “Send WoL-Packet” and then click on “Save”.
- If everything went well, you should find your computer in “My Accounts”, accessible via the side menu.
3Link PC and phone
- Click on “Add account” in the box corresponding to the PC you just added and then click on “OK”.
- Fill in your account information.
- In “Account name”, enter your name as it appears on the lock screen.
- In “Password”, enter the password you usually use to unlock your computer.
- Scan your fingerprint on your smartphone’s reader.
- Click on “Save”.
- A window opens asking you to check that the ID is the same on your computer and PC.
- To check this, on your lock screen, click on the “Fingerprint Unlock” user and make sure that the numbers displayed match those on your phone.
- If so, then click on “OK” on your smartphone. Otherwise, repeat the procedure from the beginning.
If everything went well, you should now be able to unlock your computer by opening the app and scanning your fingerprint on the “Unlock” screen! The Pro version – discussed below – allows you to unlock a widget that prevents the app from opening every time.
Security and professional version of the app
The idea of unlocking your PC via the fingerprint reader can make users who are most committed to security tremble. For those who would like to know more about how the system works, a discussion thread exists on the famous XDA-Developers forum. The developer reassures users by explaining that fingerprint recognition is performed via the official Android API and that only an encrypted authentication token is sent to your computer. The most curious will be able to read the 38 pages of discussion that detail all this.
It should also be noted that it is possible to buy the Pro version of the app for 1.99 €. The latter allows you to add a widget to your home screen and works with more than one computer. If you juggle between several workstations (at work and at home, for example), this can be useful.