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 fairly lackluster to everyone that used it, and there was no face unlock either. While marketing material that leaked prior to launch suggested that face unlock would at least come to the Pixel 6 Pro, there was no sign of it on launch day. Now, a report from 9to5Google (citing a source) suggests that Google is still aiming to bring face unlock to the Pixel 6 Pro, and possibly even as soon as the next Pixel Feature Drop which is scheduled to be released in June.
The weird thing is that hardware-wise, the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro are similar in their front-facing cameras, but apparently, only the Pro will get face unlock. There is no additional hardware for face scanning such as Google’s Soli technology that debuted on the Pixel 4, nor is there an IR camera either. Both devices have slightly different front-facing 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 from 9to5Google explicitly states that Google’s intentions are to bring it to the Pixel 6 Pro only.
The fact that Google is working on face unlock for at least the Pixel 6 Pro is corroborated by XDA Recognized Developer Freak07, who spotted a new change related to the feature in the PowerHAL config file in Android 12 QPR3 Beta 1.1. Google’s internal codename for face unlock on the Pixel 6 Pro seems to be “Tuscany”, and the company has been working on optimizing its power consumption.
As well, 9to5Google also reports that Google actually pulled support for face unlock for the Pixel 6 Pro right before launch, meaning that it was present already and working at some point. This lines up with the leaked marketing material that we’ve gotten to see, as it suggests that the change was very last minute. We’ve since seen occasional references to it on people’s devices, again suggesting that something funny has been going on with Google.
Currently, the in-display fingerprint scanner remains the only biometric authentication on the Pixel 6 series, and it seems that it’s going to stay the same for the regular Pixel 6.