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Pixel 8 users can now use Face Unlock in one more app

In addition to banking and wallet apps, you can now use Face Unlock to unlock your WhatsApp chats on the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro.

Published onApril 25, 2024

google pixel 8 pro selfie camera
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
  • WhatsApp has now added support for Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro’s face unlock for its app lock security feature.
  • The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro feature Class 3 face unlock, the highest level of biometric security on Android.
  • You can use Pixel 8’s face unlock to unlock banking apps, wallet apps, and now, WhatsApp.

The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro remain some of the best Android phones you can buy these days, even though Pixel 9 fever is already reaching new highs. One of the highlight features of the Pixel 8 series is the front camera. While it’s a humble 10.5MP shooter, it features “Class 3 biometrics,” which gives a big upgrade to face unlock on these phones. You can now use this upgraded face unlock on the Pixel 8 series with WhatsApp’s app lock security feature.

Biometric authentication on Android devices falls under three classes, decided based on their architectural security and biometric security performance. This classification further considers metrics such as Spoof Acceptance Rate, Imposter Acceptance Rate, and False Acceptance Rate. Class 1 biometrics merely offer convenience but no security; Class 2 biometrics provide a basic level of security, while Class 3 biometrics offer the highest level of security on Android devices.

Despite the humble selfie camera, Face Unlock on the Pixel 8 series satisfies the metrics needed to reach a classification of Class 3 biometrics, thanks to the Tensor G3 and Google’s ML algorithms. Thanks to Class 3 biometrics, you can use Face Unlock to authenticate within apps, expanding its use in banking and payment apps. No Pixel phones have been capable of this since the Pixel 4, and this is the first Pixel phone ever that has both Class 3 Face Unlock and a fingerprint scanner, giving users the best of both worlds.

As spotted by 9to5Google, this Class 3 face unlock can authenticate WhatsApp’s app lock security feature. Previously, Pixel 8 series users could only use their fingerprint or PIN to unlock their phones, but they can now use face unlock too.

Upon launching WhatsApp, the system face unlock sheet appears at the bottom of the screen, while you also get a ring around the front-facing camera. If your face isn’t visible, WhatsApp will fall back to the fingerprint prompt after a few seconds.

It is rather envious that Pixel 8 series users can use both fingerprint and face unlock to unlock their favorite apps. We wish more OEMs could include Class 3 face unlock on their phones for this convenience.

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