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People are upset about this Pixel 7 flaw

The behavior of face unlock is to blame.

Published onOctober 18, 2022

Pixel 7 face unlock menu edit
Adamya Sharma / Android Authority
  • A flaw in the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro is annoying users who are trying to make payments using the phones.
  • The problem lies with the way face unlock functions on the Google flagships.

The Pixel 7 and 7 Pro are just reaching the hands of users, and people are noticing an annoying flaw thanks to Google’s new face unlock system.

Folks trying to make payments through Google Pay are reporting that their transactions are failing when they unlock their Pixel 7 units using face unlock. Apparently, if you use your face as an authentication method to access your phone and then try to make a contactless payment, it is declined, and you are again asked to unlock your phone via fingerprint.

Unlike face unlock on the Pixel 4 series, which used a 3D mapping approach, the feature on the new Pixel phones is a Class 1 biometric that relies on the selfie camera and Google’s machine learning smarts. That means it’s weaker, with a spoof acceptance rate of 20-30% (h/t Mishaal Rahman). Seeing that it’s not the most secure biometric unlocking method, Google previously made it clear that users won’t be able to authenticate payments with it.

So while it’s acceptable that payment apps on the Pixel 7 series require fingerprint authentication, the problem is with the way Google has implemented its working. Apps should ask for fingerprint/PIN/password authentication when users are trying to make a payment — not decline them and then ask for the fingerprint again.

The issue seems to be irking many new Pixel 7 and 7 Pro users who have taken to Reddit to complain about it. Some people eventually turned off face unlock altogether to avoid their payments getting rejected, while others are being careful about unlocking their phones using only their fingerprints when they have to make payments.

Google hasn’t acknowledged the problem, but it’s likely that the company will roll out a fix in one of its future feature drops.

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