My FP3 Fingerprint sensor is working so badly it's basically completely useless

I used a Huawei P10 for a while, which is a few years old, but has a great fingerprint sensor. It’s on the home button, you just touch it with your thump for a split second and it unlocks your phone / verifies your apps.

I now switched to the FP3, mainly ideological reasons, but also because the dual sim meant that I would be able to use this as my private and work phone in one device. Sadly I have to say that the fingerprint sensor is so bad, it is basically useless!

  1. The position sucks. I have bigger hands than average, when I pull my phone out of my pocket, the tip of my indicator finger will naturally be 2cm below the sensor. So to unlock my phone with the sensor, I have to hold my phone in a different position then I would usually do, which is super inconvenient. I can’t imagine anyone who will have his finger naturually on the position of the sensor and I do not understand why it is not on a lower position!

  2. The damn thing doesn’t work!
    I use a lot of apps which can be unlocked via fingeprint (mainly banking/online payment) and fingerprint unlock would be super convenient, since I try to use extra secure passwords on these apps, which are very annoying to type in, every time I switch out of the app!
    Whenever I try to unlock my phone via fingerprint or validate something with it, it will show me an error that it couldn’t regocnize the fingerprint, that I need to try again and that I may need to clean the sensor. The sensor is always clean. I wipe it every time I get the error, nothing changes. I used all possible fingerprint slots just to scan the same fingerprint over and over (I have 5 scans of the same indicator finger) and it still wont recognize the damn finger!

Back on my old phone I just swipe my thumb over the sensor and it worked, right now I flip over my phone and try to aim exactly for the right position, which works 20% of time. Most of the times it will block me after too many failed attemps and I am back to typing in my overly complicated password.

I don’t understand how this could have ever passed testing.

Edit: changed the title, in case this issue more individual than I first assumed.


Have you contacted FP support about this? It sounds like you may have a defective sensor.


hi there :slight_smile:

I’m also using the fingerprint sensor for different apps and as main-unlock (besides a PIN).

Regarding the position: For me, the position of the sensor is good. I have to move my finger a bit up to unlock the device. But I prefer to not always have the finger on the sensor.
But of course, some others might have other habits regarding the position of the sensor.

Regarding recognizing-quality: If my fingers are clean and not greasy, I get a recognizion-rate of 100% by 20 tries (just tested right now).
Otherwise there are some faulty-wrongs. But not that much. There might be a hardware-issue with your sensor as you tried it with different positions and different fingers.
Have you been in contact with the support-team of Fairphone?


Ok that sounds so far off from my recognition rate, that I guess I do need to contact the support about this!
My sensor worked like this from day 1, so I hadn’t really considered it to be faulty, but I guess that’s always a possibility. Will try that!


I did experience a bit of a learning curve with the sensor, but overall it works pretty well for me too, so definitely contact customer support!


Clearly sounds like a defective sensor to me - mine works both fine and fast (I had a P10, too, and a Mate 10 Pro after that, where the sensor is at a similar position, so not much of a hassle getting used to the FP3),


Alright, will definitly get in touch with the support, thanks for the feedback, was getting really frustrated!


I came from a Xperia 1 , with a side sensor.
If a compare with that , the Fairphone sensor works well, I have no problem with it.
Maybe it’s a problem in your unity.

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I, too, can confirm that its recognition rate is quite high on my phone. Of course, the position is something to get used to, but okay-ish…
But speaking of the fingerprint sensor: How long does it take for you from the moment you touch the sensor until the phone’s unlocked? Mine takes about 1 second, which is longer than I’m used to compared to my previous phone…

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I have the same problem, if I concentrate and put the fingertip exactly, then I can get an high recognition rate, nearly 100%. But normally in “everyday situations” when I put the fingertip on the sensor it mostly says it’s dirty or too many attempts.

I could increase the recognition rate by training the same fingertip again as second finger with different rotations of my fingertip while training.

I don’t think my sensor is faulty, I had a demo model and there was the same bad recognition rate. A colleague of mine has a Huawei and has a very high recognition rate.

I normally don’t use the fingerprint sensor, so it’s not a big deal for me.


… und ich dachte, ich mach was falsch. Übungshalber probier ichs jedesmal 4, 5 mal mit dem Fingerprint, mit den o.g. Rückmeldungen. Die Erkennungsrate liegt bei ca. 20 - 25 %, wenns eilt tipp ich eh gleich meinen Code.
Lieber überback, kannst du berichten, ob der Support weiterhelfen kann?


Auch ich habe massive Probleme mit dem Sensor. Ich nehme die Fingerabdrücke auf und am Anfang klappt es gut, jedoch lässt es dann nach bis hin zu sehr sensibel, was die korrekte Position zur Erkennung angeht. Außerdem reagiert der Sensor auch auf “nicht Finger”. Für mich leider enttäuschend.

I also have massive problems with the sensor. I take the fingerprints and in the beginning it works fine, but then it gets less sensitive up to very sensitive regarding the correct position for recognition. The sensor also reacts to “not finger”. Unfortunately disappointing for me.

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Did you get answer from the support?

Ensure your fingers don’t contain grease yet are dry (ie. wash hands or after shower). Try with a different finger, or ask a friend to try it (while you’re with them). Some people do labor which destroys or destroyed their fingerprints, and certain foods or weather conditions can make it tougher as well. Given you said it works on another phone that isn’t it. Also, as already mentioned, use different angles.

f that doesn’t solve it, perhaps your sensor is faulty. I’d contact support if I were you. Tell them everything you already tried.

As for the position it depends on the hand and how you hold it. In a case (I use Anna Treurniet’s), its easier to feel (more difficult to miss).

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glad to hear I’m not the only one.
by now i added 5 fingers: all are my right index. Every time I add a record it works fine for a day, then the recognition rate deteriorates. This morning I wanted to try again and now I can’t even add a new fingerprint because the sensor is supposedly dirty, which is not the case.
So this is starting to look like faulty HW after all.


I have the same issue with my sensor. In some situations it doesn’t work even if I switch fingers after the first attempt. I also have an assumption that is has something to do with the temperature.

My fingerprint sensor is a bit hard as well. My mother-in-law also has a Fairphone 3 and she has the same problems.

A few tips that makes things better:
-I found that pressing the sensor for a longer time works better. I had the habit from my previous phone to put my finger on the sensor and immediately taking it away. This sensor need to be pressed for 1 or 2 solid seconds to work better.
-You need clean and dry hands. The slightest layer of grease makes the sensor unusable.
-I clean the sensor once a week with the same piece of cloth I use to clean my glasses
-The less fingers you registered, to quicker the detection is. Try only registering 2 or 3 fingers.


Got my FF3 3 months now, the fingerprint sensor has been malfunctioning since the start. No update nor any other actions (cleaning, rescanning etc.) did help.

The Support send me a mail, suggesting trying to WASH MY HANDS :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

Along with some clicked together text snippets how to delete, rescan the prints, try safemode or factory reset. None of that helps actually.

All much cheaper phones I used before did work just fine. Why, actually even with greasy hands while working on a car. The FF3 doen’t recognize my prints even under cleanest and best conditions. Sometimes it unlocks on 2nd try - but that is rare. Most times it locks me out saying the sensor is dirty.

Ah, and support suggests to try to use the phone not in hot or cold conditions. Well, all previous phones an tablets did not care and unlocked just fine, no matter if cold or hot. My FF3 doesn’t at room temperature.

At this state the fingerprint sensor is unusable in real life conditions. Am rather disappointed!


I wanted to contribute to the conversation. I have had my FP3 since November and likewise experienced issues with my fingerprint sensor, which did not work in many real-life circumstances. However, at the time I did not see it as a big issue as I did not particularly depend on it.

After reading some replies on this forum I decided to take the advice into consideration. I removed all fingers recognized and added only two fingers, one for each index finger. In this process, I noticed that the software was more selective when configuring my finger than when I had set it up. It is possible that a software update has changed configuration to be more accurate since I set up my phone last November. For this reason I encourage others to see if this fixes their issue.


I also had problems with the fingerprint sensor recognizing my finger for months, so what I did some weeks ago, as I readed in this forum, was removing my old recogniced fingers and adding new ones, trying to be precise when adding them and adding less fingers (for a quicker recognizion). It seems to me that the fingerprint sensor is now more reliable and it works better most of the times.

Hope it helps you too!