When the Google Pixel 6 series launched, there was one noticeable aspect of the device that stood out like a sore thumb. The fingerprint sensor was pretty lackluster for anyone using it, and there was no face unlock either. While leaked pre-launch marketing material suggested face unlock would at least be coming to the Pixel 6 Pro, there was no sign of it on launch day. Now a report of 9to5Google (quoting a source) suggests that Google is still aiming to bring face unlock to the Pixel 6 Pro, and possibly as soon as the next Pixel Feature Drop due out in June.
The weird thing is that hardware-wise, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are similar in their front cameras, but apparently only the Pro will get face unlock. There’s no additional face-scanning hardware, like Google’s Soli technology that debuted on the Pixel 4, and there’s no infrared camera either. The two devices have slightly different front cameras, with the Pixel 6 packing an 8MP camera and the Pixel 6 Pro packing an 11MP camera… but they’re still just cameras with no additional hardware. However, the report of 9to5Google explicitly states that Google’s intentions are to bring it to the Pixel 6 Pro only.
That Google is working on face unlock for at least the Pixel 6 Pro is corroborated by XDA-acclaimed developer Freak07, who spotted a new feature-related change in the PowerHAL config file in Android 12 QPR3 Beta 1.1. Google’s internal codename for face unlock on the Pixel 6 Pro appears to be “Tuscany,” and the company has been working on optimizing its power consumption.
As well, 9to5Google Also reports that Google actually supported face unlock for the Pixel 6 Pro just before launch, meaning it was already there and working at one point. This matches the leaked marketing material we’ve seen, as it suggests the change was made at the very last minute. We’ve since seen occasional references to it on people’s devices, again suggesting that something funny is going on with Google.
Currently, the in-screen fingerprint scanner remains the only biometric authentication on the Pixel 6 series, and it looks like it will remain the same for the standard Pixel 6.