How to Add Fingerprint Login in Ubuntu and Other Linux Distros

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Wondering how to add fingerprint login in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions?

In today’s computerized world, we have most of our valuable assets in some form of data. It may be our tracking records, our trading portfolios, high ended confidential documents, gaming accounts, or research info. Most of these assets are fed into our systems as virtual data or simulations.

Our world is a global village. In this modern cyber world of the 21st century, we must keep our private data protected with multiple layers of security. The more unique our protection scheme, the safer our data will be. The modern metric used by most organizations is fingerprint or facial recognition. Now, most devices have also embedded this feature.

Nowadays, most computers and laptops come with a fingerprint scanner. Some of these systems may be expensive, but one can easily purchase an individual scanner and connect it to their system. Windows and macOS have had fingerprint login for quite some time.

It was possible on Linux as well but that required some clever manipulations of the system OS and geeky tweaks in the system. Fortunately, now GNOME and KDE support it through their system settings.

Now that the Linux distributions have caught on to the fingerprint scanning technology, we can easily add more solid layers of security to our systems using our unique fingerprints based on our heredity traits. This guide will teach you how to add fingerprint login in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions.

So buckle up as we set about to enable our fingerprint sensor in sync with our Linux system.

The tutorial demonstrated uses Ubuntu. However, the same steps may be implemented on other Linux distributions using GNOME 3.38 or later.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the process!

Pre-requisites.

There are a few prerequisites we follow before we move on to enable the feature of fingerprint login on our device.

First and foremost, we check if our computer has a fingerprint reader. If we don’t have a built-in fingerprint reader, we may keep a portable one connected to our system. However, it is important that the fingerprint scanner be compatible with our system and connected to it.

Secondly, we make sure we have the correct Linux distribution that supports fingerprint reading. The following tutorial works for Linux distributions using GNOME 3.38 or later. To check whether we are using GNOME KDE, Unity, or some other desktop environment, we type in the following command in the terminal:

$ Echo $XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP

Running the command in the terminal shows the environment we are using.

Alternatively, you can also check the version from the About section in your system settings.

How to add fingerprint login in Ubuntu

With the prerequisites out of the way, you are ready to learn how to add fingerprint login in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions.

Adding Fingerprint.

Now that we have all the information we need, we can begin to implement the fingerprint login option.

The process is simple and shouldn’t prove to be a problem as long as you follow the steps. If all is done correctly, you’ll have configured your fingerprints in no time.

To add the fingerprints, follow these steps.

  1. First, click on the Applications icon and go to Settings. 
  2. Next, navigate to the Users section.

This is the section where all the users of the system are registered. 

  1. Look up the account whose fingerprints are to be set and click on the fingerprint login option.

Once done, the GUI will prompt you to scan for your fingerprint. 

  1. In the center of the window, click on the add symbol to add a new fingerprint. 

This will present several options regarding which hand and which finger to use as fingerprint login so it is easy to recall.

How to add fingerprint login in Ubuntu
  1. Once you select the finger to use as the login metric, the system will ask you to place your finger on the fingerprint reader so it may enroll you as the rightful owner of your account.

While scanning, the system will direct you to move your fingers in a certain direction or will prompt you to press again so it can get a clear impression of your unique finger pattern.

Once completed, the system shows the icon in a green light, indicating the finger has been successfully registered for login.

completed fingerprint enroll

To check whether the login mechanic works properly, you may press the Super(Windows) + L key. This will log you out. However, this time you can see the option “or swipe finger” at the bottom of the login window. Selecting that, you can log in using your unique genetic finger pattern.

Reservations with the Fingerprint Login.

Fingerprint login gives you ease of access with a more solid layer of security. In the case of passcodes, we know that smaller passcodes tend to be cracked easily, whereas the larger, more complex, and safer passcodes offer hindrance every time you have to log in. These hindrances are non-existent with fingerprint login.

There are, however, a few things to keep in mind about the fingerprint login:

  1. This is a virtual mechanic reserved only for logging in i.e. we can’t use this to authenticate software updates and/or install sudo packages that ask for passwords. These areas require passwords only and can’t be replaced by fingerprint authentication.
  2. Another part that bothers many users is GNOME’s login design. It is designed such that you have to click the or swipe finger option to scan. This takes away the ease of access feature and can be quite annoying at times.

So if you feel like the Fingerprint Login option is not for you, you can easily disable it. The process is simple and shouldn’t take too long.

Follow the given steps to disable the Fingerprint Login option:

  1. Go to Settings → User and click on the fingerprint login option. Here we can add new fingerprints or remove the unwanted ones.
  2. Simply click on delete fingerprints in the bottom right. This will allow you to delete the unwanted fingerprints and/or disable the feature when you delete the fingerprint which was previously used for logging in.
delete fingerprints

In the modern world, cyber-attacks are on the rise every day. Hackers are exploiting every nook and cranny of the systems for a vulnerable spot to infiltrate. So, it is pertinent we use a security measure that is not only more personal and unique to us but also easier to use and hard to forget.

We hope this guide helped you learn how to add fingerprint login in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions and wish you have a safe and hacker-free experience when using your system.

Furthermore, if you wish to learn how you can uninstall unwanted applications on Ubuntu, click here.

If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂

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