Pixel 6 Pro user spots evidence of face unlock feature

Back in 2019, the Pixel 4 debuted with a face unlock feature. Google seemed to soon think the better of this security measure, and the 4a and 5 functioned with fingerprint sensors alone. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro came out in late 2021 and still, there was no sign that face unlock was returning. Now there’s a hint that Google might be ready to add the feature back into a future Android build.

A Redditor setting up a Pixel 6 recently encountered a face unlock option, reports 9to5Google. The poster wrote that the face unlock choice appeared during the “Choose a screen lock” step of setting up the phone, which is when users choose alternate ways to unlock screens. The “Face” option showed up with choices to set a password, pattern or PIN. The Redditor was not prompted to actually put face unlock into action, and it did not show up in settings later. Oddly, this happened in a stable Android release as well, not something like a 12L beta build.

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9to5Google probed the OS and discovered that “face” has been buried inside a section of security-related code since 2021. For whatever reason, however, it only recently and randomly popped up as an option. While face unlocking appeared in some overseas marketing for the Pixel 6, it seemed on release that Google had thought the better of providing it.

So it’s not a big stretch to guess that even an inadvertent glitch calling it up as a false choice for a user could mean some changes are on the way. At least one of the Pixel 6 models – likely the Pro – may soon present face unlock as an actual security choice you can activate.


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