Will the Pixel 6 Pro get Face Unlock? Uncovered code strings suggest so

(Pocket-lint) – Google recently introduced the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro with in-display fingerprint scanners for biometric authentication – but, oddly, it didn’t include a Face Unlock feature. However, there is evidence the Pro model could still get it via an upcoming software update.

As first spotted by 9to5Google, Android 12L’s source code includes references to a face recognition feature on the Tensor-powered smartphone. The code strings specifically reference the Pixel 6 Pro’s ability to switch between face unlock and fingerprint recognition in order to unlock.

Currently, only the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL support Face Unlock as a form of biometric authentication. But they don’t come with fingerprint scanners. 

The Android 12L source code suggests face authentication is being considered as an experimental feature for the Pixel 6 Pro only – not the Pixel 6.

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That’s confusing – especially considering the Pixel 6 Pro has no known special hardware over the Pixel 6 for enhanced facial recognition. In fact, the only difference between the two smartphones’ front-facing sensors is an improved selfie camera with a wider field of view.

It’s unclear if Google will actually introduce Face Unlock with Android 12L when it rolls out or rather with a Pixel Feature Drop software update.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on 16 December 2021.

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