Updated: Think your Android smartphone with fingerprint scanner is safe from thieves? Think again
When Apple introduced the Touch ID sensor, which essentially popularised the use of biometric scanners on a smartphone, it combined it with the strong iCloud Account Lock feature. As a result, any stolen iPhone (provided, it’s running a more current version of iOS) is essentially turned into a paperweight if it’s not unlocked by its owner. Thanks to the closed system that iOS is, getting past the security is impossible for a layman, and seems to be an endeavour with inconsistent results for hackers. Even authorities confirmed that thieves have become more and more discouraged to snatch iPhones. In reality, iCloud Account Lock works in the same manner even if one only uses a PIN code or password as their main locking feature, but since Touch ID is so widely used, it became synonymous with the strong security.
Android gives users a lot of freedom, which is a double-edged sword
A lot of Android smartphones also have a fingerprint scanner, and the sense of security it provides has also migrated to the Android user base, but in most cases – it’s a false one.
Android is a very open platform, which gives its users access to a lot of nooks and crannies that iOS does not. This is generally considered a plus, as it gives the user a lot of control over their own gadget and that’s cool, but it can be a double-edged sword at times. In our case here, the culprit is the modders’ beloved Recovery Mode – a “behind-the-curtains” boot menu, which allows users to manually flash system ROMs, wipe the phone’s cache, or clear all of its data. And by all of its data, we also mean all of its security settings – it basically reverts it back to factory-default state.
This is not to say "iOS good, Android bad!", but do consider it as a public service announcement – if you’ve been having peace of mind, thinking that locking your Android smartphone will essentially make it worthless for potential thieves, this is probably false, unless they are really thick or easily discouraged (also, unable to use Google). It's great that Androids are getting an Activation Lock, but in our experience – it's a bit forgiving and out-of-the-way in its current state.