Pixel 6 Fingerprint Reader Not Working? Try These Solutions.

A person holding the Google Pixel 6
Google

As people finally get their hopefully-not-cancelled Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro orders, they’re encountering a terrifying problem. The fingerprint reader doesn’t work! Clearly there’s a problem with Google’s manufacturing process, right? … Right?

We’ve been following this problem since the Pixel 6 launch, and some Review Geek writers have actually dealt with it in-person. That said, faulty fingerprint readers aren’t to blame. Read on for three quick solutions to your Pixel 6 fingerprint reader woes.

Update, 11/17/21: Google recently acknowledged that Pixel 6 owners are having trouble with their fingerprint sensors. The company is now pushing an update to “improve” fingerprint reader performance and has published some official tips to help you get the most from your Pixel.

Set Up Your Fingerprint Again

A fingerprint reader scanning a finger.
This is what your Pixel sees. Terrifying, isn’t it? idea Ink Design/Shutterstock

We at Review Geek get to play with a lot of phones, and if there’s one thing we know about in-display fingerprint readers, it’s that they aren’t always easy to set up. Sometimes you have to go back into your settings and redo the process. It sounds silly, but it’s true.

To redo the fingerprint setup process, open your new phone’s Settings and go to Security. You should see an option titled “Pixel Imprint,” which is the most confusing name that Google could give its fingerprint reader, but whatever.

Now that you’re in the poorly-named “Pixel Imprint” settings, delete your fingerprint and set it up again. I suggest registering the same finger two or three times to improve speed and accuracy—just bear in mind that you can only register five fingerprints to your Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro at a time.

Moisturize Your Sad, Cracked Fingers

Someone moisturizing their fingers.
This person got a manicure just for their Pixel 6! FotoDuets/Shutterstock

You should really start using moisturizer. Like, just generally speaking. Not only does it keep your skin healthy and strong, but it improves the performance of in-display fingerprint readers. You know, like the one in your Pixel 6.

Optical in-display fingerprint readers are basically just cameras. They illuminate a portion of your screen to get a good look at your fingerprint, which they can then compare to whatever fingerprints are on file. If there’s a match, your phone unlocks.

But if your fingers are dry or cracked (as they might be this time of year), then your fingerprints might not be very photogenic. Worse, they might not look like the fingerprints you registered with your Pixel 6!

So go grease up for your Pixel 6! You may want to re-register your fingerprint after taking this step to further increase the fingerprint reader’s accuracy.

Rip Off That Screen Protector

Wrong phone same idea. Raskolnikov/Shutterstock

Some screen protectors just aren’t suited for under-display fingerprint readers. So if you got a free screen protector from your carrier or ordered one with your Pixel 6, try ripping that sucker off. Your fingerprint sensor may magically start working.

Just to be clear, screen protectors shouldn’t screw up fingerprint sensors. But from what we’ve seen, cheap screen protectors are at the root of some Pixel 6 owners’ problems. Google suggests using a certified screen protector to get around this issue.

If removing your screen protector fixes your Pixel 6 fingerprint scanner, go ahead and re-register your fingers. Doing so should increase accuracy and reduce false-negatives.

PanzerGlass Pixel 6 Screen Protector

Grab a certified Pixel 6 screen protector from PanzerGlass.

PanzerGlass Pixel 6 Pro Screen Protector

Got a Pixel 6 Pro? Here’s a Google-certified screen protector from PanzerGlass.


Have all these solutions failed you? I suggest contacting Google Support or your carrier for some help. You may have a faulty fingerprint sensor—although such a problem is kind of rare.

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is a writer for Review Geek and its sister site, How-To Geek. Like a jack-of-all-trades, he handles the writing and image editing for a mess of tech news articles, daily deals, product reviews, and complicated explainers. Read Full Bio »

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