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 has been rumored since late last year, 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 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, 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 before unveiling the Pixel 6 series. Face unlock was rumored to be a feature of Google's best Android phones prior to their launch, but they only arrived with an in-display fingerprint sensor.

Most recently, traces of the feature were spotted in Google's Android 12 QPR3 Beta 1.1 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
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.