Google considers face unlock, which depends on the fingerprint sensor in the Pixel 6; work on the Pixel 7 is ongoing.

Google is continuing to work on bringing face recognition to the Pixel 6 and future devices, including the Pixel 7, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. The Pixels under-display fingerprint sensor is now being used in conjunction with face unlock in the most recent direction.

The difficult path to unlocking Pixel 6 Face We stated in April that face unlock would be a feature of the Pixel 6 Pro when it launched (in October). Near-final marketing material and a Play Store listing displaying Face and Fingerprint Unlock were two pieces of supporting evidence before the capability was dropped relatively close to the announcement.

The main argument for why the smaller Pixel 6 will not support face unlock in our earlier report was that its selfie camera would not allow dual-pixel auto-focus (DPAF). The front-facing camera on the Pixel 6 Pros is capable of creating depth maps, which are probably used to verify a face.

Pixel 6 Pro leak
Pixel 6 face unlock


In June, when we published Google’s most recent report on face unlock, we stated that the company was still developing the feature and that the Pixel 6 Pro’s lack of availability was due to accuracy and battery issues. Additionally, we discovered proof in Android 12 QPR3 that the CPU’s performance will be enhanced for a brief period of time while face unlock is in use to speed up processing.

THE WINDING PATH IS PRESENT. Now that we know, Google has a Pixel face unlock version that includes an under-display fingerprint sensor (UDFPS). Notably, this strategy can enable face unlock for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

Google will lower the identification level required for fingerprint unlock when a face can be partially but not fully recognized. According to what we’ve learned, the reduction in the necessary fingerprint match is not a small amount.

This new unlock method uses face recognition technology, which doesn’t call for any additional hardware. As a result, it is being tested on both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. The Pixel 7 and 7 Pro may both enable DPAF, according to code evidence, but it’s vital to keep in mind that this strategy theoretically leaves the Pixel 6a and other a-series devices vulnerable. This solution is more battery-efficient and resolves Google’s past face unlock concerns in addition to perhaps operating on more phones.

Via iFixit

Similar to how the Pixel 4 employed Soli radar to proactively turn on the face unlock sensors on reach/pick-up, Google’s usage of two sensors for the unlocking process is evocative of that. But does this raise the possibility that Google may just deploy an improved under-display fingerprint sensor? Given that you still need to place your finger on the screen, this new method is not truly face unlock in the sense that most people think it should be. If anything, this strategy is more in support of the Pixel 6’s below-average fingerprint identification performance when compared to other devices, such as the Galaxy S22 series and other flagship Android handsets, with its under-display sensor.

Regarding availability, we are unsure whether this will ever be released on the Pixel 6 series or if 2016’s hardware will only be used as a testing ground. Unsurprisingly, we’ve also learnt that the Pixel 7’s face unlock feature is still being developed.

MORE FROM PIXEL: Ben Schoon and Kyle Bradshaw both contributed to this article.
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