Unable To Unlock Samsung Galaxy S4 Using Face Unlock [How To Fix]

We’ve received a few emails from our readers complaining about problems using the Face Unlock feature on the Samsung Galaxy S4. I did a quick search on the web and found out there are thousands, if not millions, of owners having issues with this very same feature. The most common problem is that owners were unable to unlock their device using the Face Unlock feature. It is a great security feature and is very easy to setup and use. However, the phone isn’t perfect and things are sometimes messed up. Thus, we feel the need to publish an article that addresses the problem.

Here is a couple of emails from our readers related to this problem:

I love the Face Unlock feature on my Samsung Galaxy S4, however, there’s a slight problem. At least, twice a day I can’t unlock the phone using the feature. I don’t know why but it just doesn’t work sometimes. Is there a way I could make it work all the time? Do you have any suggestions?

Suddenly, the Face Unlock security feature on my Samsung Galaxy S4 stopped working, then the message ‘Maximum Face Unlock attempts exceeded’ appears and the phone is asking me to blink. I know how to set the feature up but I’m not really a techie person so I need your help or advice on this. Thank you.

Possible Causes

There are a lot of factors that may lead to the development of this problem and some of them are the following:

  • Lighting is either too dim or too bright.
  • Owner’s face was not aligned within the facial recognition area.
  • The phone was not held at eye level.
  • Owner did not blink and Presence check was enabled.
  • Owner is wearing glasses or any eyewear that could obscure the device’s recognition capability.
  • The front camera was obstructed thus blocking the owner’s face.


In case the Face Unlock feature does not work on your Samsung Galaxy S4, here are the things you could do to attempt to fix the issue. Please note that these procedures are recommendations based on testimonies from other users and results of our tests. We also shared some ideas from developers we’ve talked to regarding this issue. If you know some things that we don’t, please send us an email at and we will add your recommendations to this post.

Go to a well-lit area. It is imperative you stand in an area where there is enough light for the phone to recognize your face. If the area is too dim, the phone can see you as a shadow, while if you’re in an area where there is too much light, you would appear like a ghost to the phone. Either case, the phone couldn’t determine “face points,” thus, it cannot let you in as verification failed. Go to an area where you can read fine prints just right without your eyes, for sure, the phone could also “see” and identify you clearly.

Hold the phone in front of you and at eye level. Even if you are in a well-lit area but you didn’t hold the phone at a correct angle in front of you, there is always a possibility the Face Unlock feature couldn’t verify your identity. Hold the phone directly in front of your face and at eye level; a little angle off to the left or right may cause this problem. If you’ve set up the feature with a little angle (for example, a little angle to the left of your face or to the right), make sure you can remember that to prevent this issue from bugging you every day.

Blink to let the phone know you’re alive. If the Presence check feature was enabled, you must blink while the phone is trying to verify your face. This feature was added to address facial recognition security flaw. You must have heard from other owners that using a photograph could unlock the phone but with Presence check on, that is now impossible to do. If the phone won’t unlock at first try, try blinking at the second time because may be you enabled Presence check inadvertently.

Take off your glasses or any eyewear. Any additional features to your face could also cause this problem. You cannot unlock the phone when you are wearing any eyewear especially if you’ve set it up to recognize your face bare. After taking off the eyewear and still the phone won’t unlock, try following the first three procedures or the next one.

Make sure the front camera is not obscured by anything. A small do on the lens of the front camera could make a difference on the phone’s ability to recognize facial features. If you’ve tried all the steps above and you’re still experiencing this problem, try cleaning the front camera using a soft cloth; wipe the lens off gently. If you’ve installed third-party accessories like cases and the like and this problem started bugging, try reverting to original cases and see if the problem still persists.

Factory Reset. This is the last resort and this could fix the problem, however, you need to back up all your data because once you do this, you may lose all of them. Factory reset will bring the phone back to its original or default settings.

Tell us your problems

The solutions we provided here are based on reports and testimonies from owners who have encountered these problems. I also ask my XDA developer friends regarding some of the problems. Now if you have other problems or questions with your smartphone that you want answered, don’t hesitate to send us email at

We don’t guarantee a reply to all emails because we receive hundreds of them daily, but rest assured your email messages will be read by me. But I urge you to provide as much details as possible so I could easily find references and compare your problems with reports from other owners. If your problem is as common as others, there could already be solutions that exist and I would surely point you to them. Screenshots often help so attach one if you can.

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