By now, you’ve probably heard that Pixel 6 owners are having trouble with their fingerprint readers. Some people have unresponsive sensors, others have non-working sensors, and so on. Google recently blamed these issues on “enhanced security algorithms” and user error, but a new bug shows that crappy software may be behind some Pixel 6 owners’ fingerprint-scanning woes.
Update, 11/17/21: Google is now pushing an update to “improve” the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro fingerprint sensor.
Reddit users in the r/GooglePixel community report that, after completely draining their Pixel 6 or 6 Pro battery, the fingerprint sensor no longer works. Resetting the phone or playing in biometric settings doesn’t resolve the issue—only a factory reset brings back the Pixel 6 fingerprint sensor.
Affected Pixel 6 owners have submitted bug reports to the Google Issue Tracker. Interestingly, some of these users report that their fingerprint reader stopped working after their phone crashed. This could indicate that “improper” shutdowns, including those caused by crashes and dead batteries, are actually the cause of this problem.
While this bug is incredibly annoying, it shows that buggy software may play a bigger part in Pixel 6 fingerprint sensor complaints than we previously thought. Software updates could resolve these bugs (if they exist) and make the Pixel 6 fingerprint scanner more reliable.
That said, Google hasn’t commented on this problem. We don’t know when a fix will come. If your Pixel 6 fingerprint reader stops working after an “improper” shutdown, your only options are to wait for a fix or factory reset your device.