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Google Pixel 6 series might get face unlock smarts after all

It's potentially great news for those who hate the Pixel 6's fingerprint sensor.

Published onNovember 11, 2021

pixel 6 fingerprint
  • Evidence suggests that the Pixel 6 series may get face unlock in a future update.
  • A commit highlights the feature may require more power draw refinements.
  • Face unlock would be a welcome companion to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro’s in-display fingerprint sensor.

The Pixel 6 series is Google’s most feature-packed smartphone line to date, but there was one glaring feature omission at launch. Despite several rumors highlighting the possible return of face unlock support to the flagships, neither Pixel 6 device featured it. However, this seemingly doesn’t mean Google isn’t still working on the feature.

According to developer Freak07 (h/t XDA-Developers), there’s still evidence that face unlock is in the works lurking within a commit published back in July. Specifically mentioning “face unlock” and the Tensor SoC’s “gs101” internal name, the commit stresses that there’s currently a power usage issue with the feature. Although it’s seemingly functional, the commit suggests face unlock is overutilizing CPU resources when not required, potentially impacting battery life. This could be one of the reasons Google decided to forego face unlock on the Pixel 6 series on launch day.

Nevertheless, Google may still be working on refining face unlock, but whether it will activate it in a future update remains unknown for now.

Do you still want face unlock on the Pixel 6 series?

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Google’s face unlock and fingerprint scanners

Google has flipped between fingerprint scanners and face unlock in recent Pixel releases. The Pixel 4 lacked fingerprint recognition, only utilizing facial unlock smarts for authentication. The Pixel 5 flipped this, dropping facial unlock for a rear fingerprint scanner.

While the Pixel 6 series now uses an in-display fingerprint sensor, it’s not without its problems. Completely draining the Pixel 6’s battery could apparently leave the sensor inoperable. Users have also lamented the sensor’s delay in recognizing a fingerprint, but Google claims this is a security measure rather than a bug.

Either way, having more than one reliable authentication method is always preferable. Here’s to hoping Google enables facial unlock smarts on the Pixel 6 series soon.