Skip to main content

Samsung's Flow app to let you log into your laptop with your phone's fingerprint

samsung flow update app
Image used with permission by copyright holder
If you haven’t heard of Samsung’s Flow, that’s probably because it hasn’t been made widely available. Samsung’s companion app for Galaxy devices is somewhat akin to Microsoft’s Continuity feature on Windows devices: It lets you start something on your phone, put it down, and pick up where you left off on a tablet — or vice versa. But you needn’t worry about missing out. On February 21, Samsung announced that it would expand Flow to support any Windows 10 device.

The new feature will allow Galaxy device owners to unlock Windows machines using their smartphone’s fingerprint sensor, or by entering a “pattern.” It’s a feature Samsung introduced last year, but exclusively for the Galaxy TabPro S — non-Samsung computers couldn’t take advantage.

The change of heart is reportedly due to consumer demand. According to SamMobile, Flow used Windows 10’s Windows Hello Companion Device Framework, a development hook that allows third-party devices to verify Windows users, authenticate payments, and even log into websites. The new Flow app will expand on that implementation.

Flow is good for more than just security. Once activated through Android’s share menu (or a dedicated Flow button, in some apps), it provides a list of target devices to which you’re free to beam content. If you select a video, picture, or document, it’ll pop up on the tablet, phone, or Windows computer in question. Even more impressively, video calls placed on one device can be seamlessly resumed on another.

Flow can also serve as a bookmarking tool — you can save an app’s state and pick it back up later, sort of like a pause button on a game console. It synchronizes phone call and text message notifications. It links paired desktop and tablet devices to mobile hot spots automatically. And Samsung says additional features are on the way. Eventually, Flow will be able to synchronize applications and mirror apps.

Samsung’s not the only one trying to reduce the friction between smartphones, tablets, and workstation PCs. Microsoft’s Cortana app for Android devices synchronizes notifications about calls, incoming messages, low battery, and app notifications between multiple devices. On a Windows machine, missed calls and message notifications are actionable — you can respond with canned replies like “I’ll get back to you soon.” And you can reply to some messages directly from your PC.

The Flow app with expanded Windows device support expected be released after the next major Windows 10 update, which is the Windows 10 Creators Update, in early April. Perhaps not coincidentally, that’s the month Samsung is expected to release the Galaxy S8, its next flagship smartphone.

Editors' Recommendations

Kyle Wiggers
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kyle Wiggers is a writer, Web designer, and podcaster with an acute interest in all things tech. When not reviewing gadgets…
Your Phone in Windows 11 now shows recent apps
A laptop sits on a desk with a Windows 11 wallpaper.

Microsoft's latest feature aims to create better integration between Samsung and Windows devices by allowing users to access their recent Android apps through the System Tray on Windows 11 and Windows 10.

The feature displays a "Your Phone" icon in the System Tray on the Windows desktop, allowing users to see the last applications recently accessed through their phone. Selecting any of the recent icons will then project the application on the desktop while it is running natively on the smartphone. There is also an option for users to pull up all of their mobile applications to view on their Windows device.

Read more
This Samsung folding laptop idea is unlike any you’ve seen
Samsung foldable laptop concept image.

The folding laptop was recently revived, but Samsung might be thinking of taking it to a new level. Recently patented by the company is a "multi-foldable electronic device that hints at a concept laptop that folds down the middle width-wise, like a book.

Filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on July 2, 2021, and released on January 13, 2022, the foreign-language patent was spotted by LetsGoDigital. It shows images of how this concept laptop might work. Instead of folding length-wise at the top with a hinge, this laptop also folds down the middle of both the screen and keyboard and into a more compact block. This looks to be aimed at portability and being more natural for the user, similar to how the Galaxy Z Fold 3 opens up and closes.

Read more
Can Samsung DeX really replace your college laptop?
Person using the Samsung DeX.

If you own a Samsung phone from the last few years, or plan to get a new one before returning to school or college, the question of whether Samsung's DeX productivity feature could replace a tablet or laptop for you may have crossed your mind. DeX turns your phone and a monitor into a mini computer, and all you need to do is grab a Bluetooth keyboard, as the phone’s screen works like a touchpad, so it's a reasonable thought.

Saving space and money at the same time? Too good to be true? Let’s talk about whether Samsung DeX really can save you from buying a laptop to use at college.
What is DeX?
Samsung calls DeX a multitasking tool, but this doesn't do it justice. When you connect your phone to a television or a monitor, DeX activates a desktop-like experience and lets you do almost everything you would on the phone on a big screen. This means you can run apps, watch videos, use Microsoft tools, play games, run presentations, edit photos, have video meetings, check email, and browse the web.

Read more