Take a Peek into the Galaxy Note 7’s Iris Scanner


So much for security these days, that this era calls for an Iris Scanner or Retina Scanner to be housed in a smartphone to protect it! In addition to the classy looks and wonderful specs the recently launched Galaxy Note 7 is acclaimed for its new biometric security feature where a bare look just unlocks the device. This technology is similar to the finger print scanners that many other latest gadgets feature. Let’s delve into how this iris scanner works.

Also see: Can an Android App Secretly Track User’s Whereabouts?

What is Iris Recognition?

Some experts refer to the iris recognition as the secret the secret of the eyes. Iris recognition is a biometric identification method wherein it uses the mathematical patterns in images of an individual’s iris from either one or both eyes.



The Iris scanner takes an image after scanning the iris. The iris is the coloured ring of the eye that is responsible for controlling the size of the pupil by contracting and expanding to control the amount of light entering the eye and reaching the retina.

Each and every person has a unique pattern of the iris in each eye. This pattern remains unchanged through the entire lifetime.  Also it is impossible to replicate a person’s iris. These characteristics put together make the iris biometric a unique and reliable authentication system much like the finger print.  This is why iris scanning is widely used for secure access control in highly secured areas like border control, security check at airport etc. Starting last year, this biometric has travelled to the smartphones as well.

Iris Scanning Mechanism

Iris Scanning Mechanism

The first ever smartphone to feature an iris scanner was the Fujitsu’s Arrows NX F-04G from Japan which ran Android Lollipop. But the phone was not released to the other parts of the world and remained confined to the Japanese.

It started with the Lumia 950 XL that was released in October 2015. The phone featured a brilliant camera and also a sensor that scanned the iris. However it wasn’t as efficient as the one that the Galaxy Note 7 features. Though the scanner on the Lumia 950 XL could recognise the user’s iris also through a glass, it couldn’t beat the recent releases.

Galaxy Note 7’s Iris Scanner

Coming to the working of the iris scanner on the Galaxy Note 7, here are the steps:

  • When a user has logged his/her iris data on the Galaxy Note 7 an encrypted code is stored securely on the smartphone.
  • When the device is accessed by another user or application, the Note 7’s infrared LED and iris scanner capture the patterns of the individual’s iris.
  • Before granting access the scanned pattern is compared with the encrypted code. Only is the two match access is granted.
Galaxy Note 7's Iris Scanner

Galaxy Note 7’s Iris Scanner

Iris Scanner Working:

In order to ensure that the design is not compromised, the Korean smartphone manufacturer, Samsung has created two components that allow iris recognition.  One is the camera that is dedicated for iris recognition and uses a special image filter to receive and recognise the reflected image of the iris using infrared LED light that allows better range of iris scanning.

The traditional visible- light images might be affected by the colour of the iris or light and hence infrared LED light is used for clear patterns.

The other component is Samsung’s proprietary technology that makes use of the light emitted by the Note 7’s display. This enhances the low-light performance when scanning the iris.

These are the two components that ensure that the scanning of the iris is more accurate and faster compared to the previous devices featuring it.

Another notable thing is that the infrared LED used by Samsung for their Galaxy Note 7 is not a health hazard and it is also compliant to highest level of certification in the industry. Also the device automatically turns off if it detects that the eye is placed too close to the scanner or if it feels that it is exposed for too long to the LED.

Knox Security System

The Knox is a security system that is meant for Samsung devices. Knox works through a partition on the internal memory that is used for running and storing important data. The iris information is encrypted and stored safely at the hardware level on the Knox platform just like how the fingerprint data is stored.

Samsung's Knox

Samsung’s Knox

Also only one person can record the iris information on the device. So in case the device is stolen or lost the user’s iris information will not be compromised.

That’s not it

Besides unlocking the Note 7 itself, the iris scanner allows the users to secure sensitive data on the device by placing them in specific locations.

The Secure Box is a separate folder on the Note 7 that allows users to protect and manage applications and files through the iris scanner. Also fingerprint, password and PIN can be used. This lets users keep private data securely like bank accounts. Also parents can block access to games and other apps from their children.

Also see: Micromax Unite 4 Plus Featuring Finger Print Scanner Launched at Rs. 7,999

So it isn’t hard to conclude that the iris scanning biometric on the Note 7 is a highlighting factor probing users to give it a try.


Get heard. Would you challenge the security of your data by using the iris scanner on Samsung Note 7? Let us know by posting your comments in the section below.





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