Google’s Pixel 6 and 6 Pro just received an out-of-cycle update, and reports are that the update tackles one of the most universally decried flaws of the phone. The changelog, as shared by Verizon, reveals the update “improves the performance of your device’s fingerprint sensor.”
While minor updates like this are expected over the lifetime of the phone, the Pixel normally has a regular cadence of updates, with a security update every month, a feature drop every quarter, and a major update every year. That Google went out of its way to push an update to the Pixel 6 specifically addressing the fingerprint sensor says a lot.
Reviewing the Pixel 6 Pro, Digital Trends’s Andy Boxall came away decidedly unimpressed, bluntly saying the in-display fingerprint sensor was rubbish. “The problem is it’s slow and unreliable. I’ve reregistered my print several times, and it doesn’t change the situation. I’ve used my PIN code to unlock the Pixel 6 Pro more than any other phone, and there’s no face unlock available to bypass the annoying fingerprint sensor,” the review read. The Pixel 6 received slightly better marks in that regard, but it was still slow.
Anecdotal reports from the Google Pixel subreddit say that the fingerprint sensor now works better after the update, with some even adding that it works through tempered glass screen protectors when it was sporadic prior. The slowness remains, as Google has been clear about it being a security feature, but the reliability is getting towards where it needs to be.
Biometric authentication is a basic part of high-end smartphones that you shouldn’t have to think about. Google had nailed it with the fingerprint sensor on the rear of prior Pixels, as well as with the Pixel 4’s face unlock feature. The Pixel 6 poses a regression in what was already a solid feature, and it’s great to see the company take steps towards addressing that blemish on an otherwise great phone.