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Did Your Pixel’s Fingerprint Reader Get Worse? An Update May Be to Blame.

The Pixel 5a's fingerprint sensor.
Justin Duino

The March Pixel update is now available, and unfortunately, it’s turning customers’ fingerprint readers into slow hunks of junk. This problem appears to affect all models of Pixel smartphone that are eligible for the March update—if you haven’t updated yet, I suggest holding out for a fix.

We’ve watched Google struggle with fingerprint sensors ever since it launched the Pixel 6. The company just can’t seem to get things right, which is odd, because older models of the Pixel smartphone have reliable and snappy fingerprint scanners. (Well, they had reliable fingerprint sensors before the March update rolled out.)

Customers on Reddit and Google’s Support forum complain that their older Pixel smartphones are worse at scanning fingerprints after the March update. This update is only available for older Pixel devices (Pixel 3a through Pixel 5a-series phones), so the Pixel 6 is unaffected.

Google hasn’t commented on this problem or offered a fix for affected customers. That said, some Pixel users claim that enabling Always-On display increases fingerprint sensor performance. To enable Always-On display, head to Settings and open “Display.” Then, tap “Lock Screen” and select “Always Show Time and Info.”

We’ve asked Google if it’s aware of this problem and are waiting for a response. As always, we will update this article when new information comes to light.

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »