The Pixel 7 series finally gets Face Unlock, but the feature is limited to just that

Google Pixel 7 Pro held in hand
(Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Google launched the Pixel 7 series on October 6.
  • The company showcased new features arriving with the phones, including Face Unlock.
  • The feature is limited to unlocking the phone and can't be used for other authentication purposes.

The Pixel 7 series is finally here and available for preorder, and with it comes plenty of new features for us to dive into. One feature many users have been looking forward to is Face Unlock, which did not make it to Google's last flagships, but makes a debut here with the Pixel 7. However, it appears it's not as fully featured as some may have hoped.

As pointed out by Der Standard's Andreas Proschofsky (via Mishaal Rahman), the Face Unlock feature on the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro can only be used to unlock the phone. That means you won't be able to use it for other authentication purposes, such as mobile payments or password managers.

According to Proschofsky, Google stated that the feature is classified as a Class 1 biometric, meaning it's not meant for security purposes and only for "convenience." Google also confirmed this with Android Police, telling them that the feature can only be used for the lock screen.

While Google touts its machine learning prowess when talking about Face Unlock on the Pixel 7, it makes sense that the company would limit the feature as such. The phone doesn't feature the necessary hardware to provide secure facial recognition like what's found on the iPhone 14 Pro and a few select Android phones. The fact of the matter is that without the dedicated hardware, it's quite possible to fool the system.

That said, unlocking the phone is likely the biggest use case for the feature, so this limitation may not matter to some. After all, the phones still have the in-display fingerprint sensor, although how well those fingerprint sensors work is another story that we'll have to look into once we run the devices through their paces.

In the meantime, the Pixel 7 is available now for preorder, and you should definitely check it out, along with the Pixel Watch.

Derrek Lee
Managing Editor

Derrek is the managing editor of Android Central, helping to guide the site's editorial content and direction to reach and resonate with readers, old and new, who are just as passionate about tech as we are. He's been obsessed with mobile technology since he was 12, when he discovered the Nokia N90, and his love of flip phones and new form factors continues to this day. As a fitness enthusiast, he has always been curious about the intersection of tech and fitness. When he's not working, he's probably working out.