Unlock with Biometrics

Category: Your Vault
On this page:

    Bitwarden can be configured to accept biometrics as a method to unlock your Vault. Biometrics can only be used to unlock your Vault, you will still be required to log in to your Vault with your Master Password and any enabled Two-step Login method.

    Biometric features are part of the built-in security in your device and/or operating system. Bitwarden leverages native APIs to perform this validation, and as such does not receive any biometrics information from the device.

    Mobile Applications

    Biometric Unlock is supported for both the Android (Google Play or FDroid) and iOS Mobile Applications:

    Enable Biometric Unlock in Mobile

    Complete the following steps to enable Biometric Unlock in your Mobile App:

    Note

    Your Biometric method of choice must be enabled on your device or operating system before it can be enabled in Bitwarden.

    1. Open your Settings tab.
    2. In the Security section, your available Biometrics options will be listed. Tap the Biometric method you would like to enable:
    Enable Face ID in iOS
    Enable Face ID in iOS

    A green Enabled status will appear when activated. Once Biometric Unlock is enabled, your device will automatically prompt for your biometric data when unlocking the app.

    Desktop Applications

    Biometric Unlock is supported for both the Windows and macOS Desktop Applications:

    Enable Biometric Unlock in Desktop

    Complete the following steps to enable Biometric Unlock in your Desktop App:

    Note

    Your Biometric method of choice must be enabled on your device or operating system before it can be enabled in Bitwarden.

    1. Open your Settings (on Windows, FileSettings) (on macOS, BitwardenPreferences).
    2. In the Security section, your available Biometrics options will be listed as checkbox items. Check the Biometric method you would like to enable:

      Configuring Hello in Windows
      Configuring Hello in Windows
    Note

    If you do not see the option to enable Windows Hello within the Desktop preferences, you may need to install the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable.

    Once Biometric Unlock is enabled, a new button will be presented on the Unlock screen. Selecting this button (for example, Unlock with Windows Hello) will initiate unlock. You may at any time choose to unlock your Vault with your Master Password instead.

    Unlock with Windows Hello
    Unlock with Windows Hello

    Browser Extensions

    Biometric Unlock is supported for Chromium-based (e.g. Chrome, Edge) Bitwarden Browser Extensions by integration with a native Bitwarden Desktop App (the Desktop App must also be running the latest version). Through the Desktop App’s access to Biometric APIs, Browser Extensions support Biometric Unlock:

    Note

    Biometric Unlock is currently not available for:

    • Firefox Browser Extensions (keep an eye on the required up-stream enhancement to make nativeMessaging optional here).
    • Safari Browser Extensions.
    • Microsoft App Store Desktop Apps (a side-loaded Windows Desktop App, available at bitwarden.com/download will work fine).
    • Side-loaded MacOS Desktop Apps (an App Store Desktop app will work fine).

    In the cases of FireFox and the Microsoft App Store, this is due to native messaging limitations (see Native Messaging Permissions). In all cases, Bitwarden team is investigating and will provide updates as things progress.

    The Bitwarden Desktop Application must be installed, logged in, and running in order to use Biometric Unlock in a Browser Extension. Additionally, you will need to enable Biometric Unlock in the desktop app before proceeding.

    Native Messaging Permissions

    When your Chromium-based Browser Extension updates to the version that supports Biometric Unlock (v1.48.0), you may be asked to accept a new permission for Bitwarden to Communicate with cooperating native applications. This permission is safe, but optional, and will enable the Browser Extension to communicate with the Bitwarden Desktop App, which is required to enable Biometric Unlock, as described above.

    Declining this permission will allow you to use v1.48.0 as normal, without Biometric Unlock functionality.

    Enable Biometric Unlock for Browser Extensions

    Complete the following steps to enable Biometric Unlock in your Browser Extension:

    1. In the Desktop App, navigate to Settings (on Windows, FileSettings) (on macOS, BitwardenPreferences).
    2. Check the Enable Browser Integration checkbox.

      Optionally, enable the Require verification for browser integration option to require account fingerprint verification when activating the integration between Browser Extension and Desktop App.

    3. In the Browser Extension, open the Settings tab.
    4. Check the Unlock with biometrics checkbox to activate the integration. You will be prompted by your Desktop App to input your biometric authentication method to complete the setup.

      If you’ve opted to Require verification for browser integration, a Desktop sync verification dialog box will appear in your Browser Extension and a Verify browser connection dialog box will appear in your Desktop Application. Validate that the displayed account fingerprint matches in both locations. If they match, select the Approve button and input your Biometric authentication method.

      Tip

      In either case, you’ll need to redo this “activation” step each time the Desktop App or Browser Extension is restarted.

    Once Biometric Unlock is enabled, a new button will be presented on the Unlock screen. Selecting the Unlock biometrics button will initiate unlock via the Desktop App.

    Warning

    If you attempt to use Biometric Unlock when the Desktop App is closed, you will be prompted to open the Desktop App. If you’ve opted to Require verification for browser integration, you’ll also be prompted to recomplete fingerprint verification.

    Was this helpful?

    Rate this article: