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Pixel 6 Pro setup screen accidentally reveals face unlock option for one user

Google Pixel 6 Pro + Pixel 6
Google Pixel 6 series (Image credit: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • New evidence of face unlock support for the Pixel 6 Pro has surfaced.
  • The unreleased biometric feature inadvertently appeared as a backup security option when a user was setting up their new Pixel 6 Pro.
  • However, it remains inoperable on Google's latest flagship phone.

Face unlock support for the Pixel 6 Pro (opens in new tab) has been rumored since late last year (opens in new tab), but Google has yet to enable the security method despite having released two Feature Drops. Now, a new piece of evidence suggests the search giant is preparing to launch it in a future update.

According to a Reddit user (opens in new tab) who recently purchased a new Pixel 6 Pro, the face unlock option showed up during the phone's initial setup as one of the backup screen lock methods. It specifically appeared alongside the PIN, pattern, password, and fingerprint options on the “Choose a screen lock” page.

Face unlock option appears in the Pixel 6 Pro's initial setup screen (Image credit: Special_Command7893 / Reddit)

Unfortunately, the feature is not functional because the user found no option to turn it on during the phone's configuration. Face unlock was nowhere to be found in the settings menu either. It's anybody's guess why it appeared on the setup page right now.

According to 9to5Google (opens in new tab), the face unlock reference has been tucked away inside the Pixel 6 Pro's Android 12 builds since as early as October 2021. These findings seem to back up earlier speculation that Google ditched the feature at the last minute (opens in new tab) before unveiling the Pixel 6 series. Face unlock was rumored to be a feature of Google's best Android phones (opens in new tab) prior to their launch, but they only arrived with an in-display fingerprint sensor.

Most recently, traces of the feature (opens in new tab) were spotted in Google's Android 12 QPR3 Beta 1.1 (opens in new tab) interim update.

What's curious about its latest sighting is that it showed up on the stable channel. While the feature's appearance on the Pixel 6 Pro might have been a fluke, Pixel fans may now have another reason to hope for its future arrival.

That said, Google has consistently kept the release date of face unlock a closely guarded secret, and only time will tell whether it will be included in a future software update.


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.