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Google Pixel 4 will get eye detection toggle for face unlock, but when?

A software update is in the works for better face unlock, but Google says it'll land in "the coming months."

Published onOctober 21, 2019

Google Pixel 4 XL top bezel and speaker 9

The Google Pixel 4 is the latest Android phone family to adopt 3D face unlock, being one of the most secure biometric authentication methods around. Unfortunately, the BBC spotted a rather glaring omission last week, as it noted that there wasn’t an eye detection toggle for the phone’s face unlock.

The missing toggle means someone can take a Pixel 4 and hold it up to the owner’s face when they’re sleeping in order to unlock the phone. Meanwhile, other manufacturers offer the toggle on their phones, forcing users to be awake and looking at the screen in order to unlock the device.

Read: Google Pixel 4 — A 2,800mAh battery?

Now, Google has told The Verge that a software update is in the works in order to enable the eye detection toggle on the Pixel 4. But it seems like you shouldn’t hold your breath for an imminent release.

“We’ve been working on an option for users to require their eyes to be open to unlock the phone, which will be delivered in a software update in the coming months,” the Mountain View company said in a statement.

5 reasons why you should (and shouldn't) pre-order a Google Pixel 4
Clearly White Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL on a shelf

Google also noted that concerned Pixel 4 users can enable the Lockdown feature by holding on the power button. When Lockdown is enabled, the Pixel phone will require a PIN, pattern, or password the next time it needs to be unlocked.

Lockdown is a pretty handy feature, but it still requires the user to manually activate it each time you want to use it. Meanwhile, the eye detection toggle works passively in the background after it’s enabled, making it less of a hassle in comparison.

The missing Pixel 4 eye detection toggle is also rather weird, as some pre-release units seem to have it anyway. This suggests that it’s either been removed from production models or that the pre-release units are running bleeding-edge software. Either way, we hope to see the feature come to all Pixel 4 devices sooner rather than later.

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