The atomic force microscope is a widely used surface scanning apparatus capable of reconstructing at a nanometric scale resolution the 3D morphology of biological samples. Due to its unique sensitivity, it is now increasingly used as a force sensor, to characterize the mechanical properties of specimens with a similar lateral resolution. This unique capability has produced, in the last years, a vast increase in the number of groups that have exploited the versatility and sensitivity of the instrument to explore the nanomechanics of various samples in the fields of biology, microbiology and medicine. In this review we outline the state of the art in this field, reporting the most interesting recent works involving the exploration of the nanomechanical properties of various biological samples.