The Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro have a lot to be excited about, but its fingerprint scanners aren’t one of them. Users have been complaining about the Pixel 6’s slow, unreliable fingerprint sensor since its release in October, making the phone difficult to open. Google has now reacted to those complaints, and while it gave an explanation, it did not present a viable remedy (via Engadget).
Google blames the problem on the “improved security algorithms” used by the Pixel 6’s fingerprint reader, according to a response on Twitter. These security precautions, according to Google, may cause your fingerprint to “take longer to authenticate or need more direct contact with the sensor.” It then gives a link to a Google support website that doesn’t offer much help other than to make sure your fingers are clean and that you’re using a registered finger with the phone.
Other Twitter users’ responses indicate that it might be a hardware issue. The Pixel 6 has an under-the-screen optical fingerprint reader rather than a quick ultrasonic scanner like the Samsung Galaxy S21, which some users believe is to blame for the sensor’s poor performance. However, as Engadget points out, some Reddit users report that the optical fingerprint sensor works perfectly on their OnePlus phones, presumably indicating a software issue particular to the Pixel 6.
For the time being, it appears that there is no apparent remedy to the Pixel 6’s finicky fingerprint sensor, and Google’s response is unclear at best. There’s no telling if Google will be able to fix the problem with a software update, or if the scanner’s ostensibly “improved” security mechanism is actually choosy about whose prints it accepts. The Verge reached out to Google for comment, but did not receive a response right away.
You’ll have to type in your PIN until Google chooses to bring back face unlock, which has its own security vulnerabilities. Otherwise, the Pixel 6 will put your patience to the test by repeatedly scanning your fingerprint.