From ArchWiki

From the fprint homepage:

The fprint project aims to plug a gap in the Linux desktop: support for consumer fingerprint reader devices.

The idea is to use the built-in fingerprint reader in some notebooks for login using PAM. This article will also explain how to use regular password for backup login method (solely fingerprint scanner is not recommended due to numerous reasons).


Note: The list of supported devices is not updated regularly and is not complete. It is worth testing your device using the instructions on this page even if it does not appear on that list, prior to resorting to AUR packages.

You can check if your device is supported by checking the list of supported devices or the list of unsupported devices. To check which one you have, type:

$ lsusb

The lsusb tool is available inside the usbutils package.


Install the fprintd package. imagemagick might also be needed.

Some devices require a different fork of libfprint, not (yet?) merged with the main libfprint:

  • libfprint-tod — For touch-based sensors.
https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/3v1n0/libfprint/-/tree/tod || libfprint-tod-gitAUR
  • libfprint-elanmoc2 — For ELAN 04f3:0c4c waiting merge.
https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/Depau/libfprint/-/tree/elanmoc2 || libfprint-elanmoc2-gitAUR
  • libfprint-elanmoc2-newdrvsExperimental for 04f3:0c4c or a 04f3:0c00, waiting merge.
https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/geodic/libfprint/-/tree/elanmoc2 || libfprint-elanmoc2-newdrvs-gitAUR


Login configuration


Add pam_fprintd.so as sufficient to the top of the auth section of /etc/pam.d/system-local-login:

auth      sufficient pam_fprintd.so
auth      include   system-login

This tries to use fingerprint login first, and if it fails or if it finds no fingerprint signatures in the given user's home directory, it proceeds to password login.

Warning: This setting is a security breach for su and sudo as it allows background processes to obtain permissions without prompting the user. See: CVE-2024-37408

You can also modify other files in /etc/pam.d/{login,su,sudo,gdm,lightdm} in the same way. For example /etc/pam.d/polkit-1 for polkit based authentication (GNOME & many other desktop environments) or /etc/pam.d/kde for unlocking KDE's lockscreen.

Adding pam_fprintd.so as sufficient to any configuration file in /etc/pam.d/ when a fingerprint signature is present will only prompt for fingerprint authentication. This prevents the use of a password if you cannot Ctrl+c fingerprint authentication (due to the lack of a shell). In order to use either a password or a fingerprint in a graphical interface, add the following line to the top of any files required:

auth		sufficient  	pam_unix.so try_first_pass likeauth nullok
auth		sufficient  	pam_fprintd.so

This will prompt for a password; pressing Enter on a blank field will proceed to fingerprint authentication.

If you want to prompt for fingerprint and password input at the same time, you can use pam-fprint-grosshackAUR. This may be needed for some graphical programs which do not allow blank password input, such as Gnome's built-in polkit agent. To use this package, add the following lines to the top of any files required:

auth		sufficient  	pam_fprintd_grosshack.so
auth		sufficient  	pam_unix.so try_first_pass nullok

Create fingerprint signature

You will need to have an authentication agent running before being able to enroll.

To add a signature for a finger, run:

$ fprintd-enroll

or create a new signature for all fingers:

$ fprintd-delete "$USER"
$ for finger in {left,right}-{thumb,{index,middle,ring,little}-finger}; do fprintd-enroll -f "$finger" "$USER"; done

You will be asked to scan the given finger. Swipe your right index finger five times. After that, the signature is created in /var/lib/fprint/.

You can also enroll without an authentication agent:

# fprintd-enroll user

To verify the newly created fingerprint, use:

$ fprintd-verify

For more information, see fprintd(1).

Restrict enrolling

This article or section is a candidate for merging with polkit.

Notes: Partially duplicates article (Discuss in Talk:Fprint)

By default every user is allowed to enroll new fingerprints without prompting for the password or the fingerprint. You can change this behavior using polkit rules.

There are two locations that contains the polkit configuration files:

  • /etc/polkit-1/rules.d/
  • /usr/share/polkit-1/rules.d/
Note: You should not modify the files under /usr/share/polkit-1/rules.d/ because they will be overwritten on update. Copy them to /etc/polkit-1/rules.d/ first.

In the following example only root can enroll fingerprints:

polkit.addRule(function (action, subject) {
  if (action.id == "net.reactivated.fprint.device.enroll") {
    return subject.user == "root" ? polkit.Result.YES : polkit.Result.NO


No devices available

If your supported device cannot be found or is claimed to be already open (in use), check the fprintd.service logs in the journal.

You may find log entries like:

fprintd[2936592]: Corrupted message received
fprintd[2936592]: Ignoring device due to initialization error: unsupported firmware version

Ensure your device's firmware is up to date with Fwupd.

gdm hangs when revealing login prompt after suspend

This issue is described in libfprint repository. The developers answer is:

My guess right now is that we are disconnecting the BT USB dongle while it is being initialised. Then everything gets stuck while btusb is trying to load the firmware (this has a 10s timeout, explaining the just under 10s hang that we are seeing). Disconnecting the bluetooth dongle like this is expected to happen when the rfkill switch is toggled, so that is normal. It just seems that the case where the device suddenly disconnects is not handled properly and times out.

The proposed fix is to create:

blacklist btusb

Or execute straight away:

# rmmod btusb

Then it should not try to initialize the device.

Unexpected error while suspending device

This issue is described in libfprint repository:

You need to set your laptop to not suspend to RAM but to do s2idle. You might need to switch the BIOS into "Windows mode".

Fingerprint authentication is not taking effect in the Polkit agent.

After adding fingerprint rules to Linux PAM, fingerprint recognition only works for SDDM and sudo, but not for polkit.

Copy the 50-default.rules file to /etc/ and change group name wheel to your user group.

# cp /usr/share/polkit-1/rules.d/50-default.rules /etc/polkit-1/rules.d/
polkit.addAdminRule(function(action, subject) {
    return ["unix-group:wheel"];


Use the following environment variable and command line flag:

# G_MESSAGES_DEBUG=all /usr/lib/fprintd -t

fprintd starts before fingerprint reader device is initialized after resuming from sleep

Create and enable the following systemd service, replacing 3-3 with the bus ID and port of your fingerprint reader, which you can find using lsusb -t:

Description=Kill fprintd and enable USB persist before sleep

ExecStart=/usr/bin/sh -c "killall fprintd; echo 1 > /sys/bus/usb/devices/3-3/power/persist"


Enrolling works but verifying does not

Some touch-based fingerprint readers generate images too small for fprint's algorithm to work properly. A common workaround for those is swiping instead of touching the sensor, but the speed at which a good image is generated may vary. Some sensors require a slower swipe and some a faster one. Here are some tips regarding what a good image should look like.

If you want to practice with different speeds to see which generates a better image, try dumping the images with the script examples/img-capture and comparing it with the examples from above (you will need to compile libfprint from source).

See also https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/libfprint/libfprint/-/issues/174