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Face unlock for the Pixel 6 series may still be in the cards

Pixel 6 Pro with green wallpaper on Nanoleaf Shapes lights
Google Pixel 6 Pro (Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro could still get face unlock support in a future update.
  • Google's new Android 12 QPR3 Beta 1.1 interim update contains evidence pointing to the feature's arrival on these devices.
  • The flagship phones were expected to debut with face unlock, but the security feature was reportedly dropped at the last minute.

Rumors about the post-launch arrival of face unlock support for the Google Pixel 6 (opens in new tab) and 6 Pro surfaced late last year, sparking hope that Google hadn't completely given up on the biometric feature. A new piece of evidence may fuel that hope even more.

According to Freak07, a noted XDA Forums contributor, the new Android 12 Quarterly Platform Release Beta 1.1 build (opens in new tab) contains a new change that references the face unlock system (via XDA Developers (opens in new tab)).

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The latest change is a strong indication that face unlock may still make its way to Google's best Android phones (opens in new tab) in the future.

Face unlock was one of the highly-anticipated features expected to arrive with the Pixel 6 series last year. However, the devices only launched with an in-display fingerprint sensor, much to the chagrin of Pixel fans.

That said, it didn't put an end to speculation about the feature's arrival in a future feature drop. The same XDA Forum contributor claimed in November of last year (opens in new tab) that Google had previously added face unlock to the Pixel 6's PowerHAL config file, where it's internally referred to as "Tuscany."

Its presence in the Android 12 QPR3 Beta 1.1 is quite interesting, as the search giant does not typically commit device tree changes for developer previews or beta releases to its Git, Freak07 noted.

That still leaves us wondering when Google will finally push the feature to the Pixel 6 series, or if a version for the vanilla Pixel 6 is in the pipeline at all (opens in new tab).


Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He is a tech journalist based in the Philippines who has been writing about consumer tech for the past six years and has been using various Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. When he's not writing, he likes to spend time outside, stealing scenes with his phone camera.