Google explains why the Pixel 6’s fingerprint sensor is slow, but we’re not convinced

Google explains why the Pixel 6's fingerprint sensor is slow, but we're not convinced

— Made By Google (@madebygoogle) November 6, 2021
In a response to a Tweet complaining about the fingerprint scanner ruining the experience for a Pixel owner, the Made by Google account replied that the “Pixel 6 fingerprint sensor utilizes enhanced security algorithms.” Those could “take longer to verify or require more direct contact with the sensor” in some instances. The company further linked to a support page detailing a few troubleshooting tips, like how the fingerprint scanner is known to be unreliable in bright outdoor light and how screen protectors can hinder the authentication process.

The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are the greatest phones Google has ever made, but there are a few flaws, such as the new in-display fingerprint reader, which replaces the old back-mounted method. It isn’t the fastest on any phone, with authentication of your biometric information frequently taking some time. As reported by Engadget, Google has provided an answer, albeit we’re not quite satisfied. We apologise for the inconvenience. The fingerprint sensor in the Pixel 6 has upgraded security algorithms. In certain cases, these extra safeguards may take longer to check or may necessitate more direct interaction with the sensor. Check out these troubleshooting steps: https://t.co/uTbifE5Uyo. Thank you, Levi.

Highlights

  • A similar problem plagued Samsung back in 2019, with its then brand-new ultrasonic fingerprint scanner on the S10 and Note10 not working well with cheap screen protectors that would lead the phones to unlock for any fingerprint. A software update eventually brought remedy, so we can only hope that Google is already working on a fix that will actually bring enhanced security to its Pixel phones. In the meantime, we’re stuck with the worst of both worlds — a slow and potentially insecure fingerprint reader.

  • If Google was actually using “enhanced security algorithms” to ensure that it’s really your fingerprint the Pixel 6 is seeing, the explanation would be satisfactory enough, and we would be happy with the trade-off this currently brings to the unlocking experience. However, we’ve just reported on some isolated but troubling instances where Pixel 6 units unlock for other people’s fingerprints, even though these fingers have never been set up. While a few of these reports could be ascribed to people activating Smart Lock, which automatically unlocks the phone in certain circumstances, a few complaints seemingly can’t be traced back to this behavior.