Leading up to the release of Google’s Pixel 6, several leaks suggested a feature from older devices would make a comeback. Of course, we’re talking about Face Unlock, or “Trusted Face,” as Google once called it. Now that the Pixel 6 is here, it looks like Google skipped Face Unlock, and that’s a good thing.
Even Google’s own Security Hub app listing suggests the feature is coming. The app listing uses a Pixel 6 for the imagery, clearly showing face and fingerprint unlock options. As more consumers get the phone, users will quickly notice the choice to unlock the phone with their face is missing entirely, and the primary mode is the new under-display fingerprint scanner.
It’s worth mentioning that the Pixel 6 has no special hardware for face unlock, like Apple’s FaceID, nor does it have crazy sensors at the top of the display like the Pixel 4. Instead, it’s nothing more than a front-facing camera—and that’s the problem.
The technology isn’t all that secure without specific hardware for Face Unlock like Apple’s IR system, the Pixel 4, or Windows Hello. Unfortunately, Google’s Pixel 6 isn’t using anything like that and would have to rely on the camera to scan your face like the old (and removed from Android) Trusted Face mode in Smart Lock from the old days.
For now, the best option is the under-display fingerprint scanner, which can have its own problems on occasion. Either way, a scan of your fingerprint is far more secure than the old, outdated, Face Unlock using nothing more than a front-facing camera.
However, improvements or advancements in the technology over the last several years could make regular Face Unlock a viable option at some point. We’re just not sure when. Google could potentially reintroduce this feature with a “Pixel Drop” update down the line for the Pixel 6 series or in a future software update.
Or, maybe they’ll skip it completely and continue with tried and tested options, including a fingerprint sensor, password, pin, or pattern.