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Confirmed: Controversial Pixel 6 fingerprint sensor is not inside the Pixel 6a

The question now becomes whether or not "different" means "better."

Published onMay 13, 2022

Google Pixel 6 Pro fingerprint sensor with light bleed
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
  • Google has confirmed a crucial detail related to the Google Pixel 6a fingerprint scanner.
  • The in-display fingerprint sensor is not the same as the controversial system in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.
  • Unfortunately, we don’t yet know if the unlocking experience on the Pixel 6a will be better or worse.

When the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro landed, they were met with universal acclaim. Here at Android Authority, both phones earned our coveted Editor’s Choice badge, while the vanilla Pixel 6 went on to earn our best Android phone award for all of 2021.

However, pretty much every reviewer around the web agreed that the worst part of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro was the fingerprint scanner. Slow and unreliable, the scanner was heavily criticized. Thankfully, we’ve learned that the Google Pixel 6a fingerprint scanner might not suffer the same fate.

See also: Just how bad is the Pixel 6’s fingerprint scanner?

Google hardware lead Rock Osterloh spoke with Android Central about the Pixel 6a. Osterloh confirmed that the in-display fingerprint scanner inside the Pixel 6a is not the same as the one inside the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

Now, don’t get your hopes up quite yet. This doesn’t necessarily mean the Google Pixel 6a fingerprint sensor is better than the one in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. It just means it’s different. However, when you consider the intense backlash the Pixel 6’s scanner received, it would make a lot of sense for Google to prioritize addressing that with future Pixel smartphones.

Even if the Pixel 6a unlocking experience is the same (or worse), this could still be good news for Pixel fans. The very fact that Google changed the sensor at all likely means it understands the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have a serious problem. This suggests the Pixel 7 series might have better sensors.

Once we get our hands on a Pixel 6a, we’ll be able to test the unlocking experience for ourselves. Stay tuned.

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