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Does the Pixel 6a have the same fingerprint sensor as the 6 and 6 Pro?

Fingerprint scanner on the Google Pixel 6 Pro
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Does the Pixel 6a have the same fingerprint sensor as the 6 and 6 Pro?

Best answer: No, the Google Pixel 6a ships with a different in-display fingerprint sensor than the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

Is the Pixel 6a's fingerprint scanner any better?

Right now, we don't know the exact performance numbers for the Google Pixel 6a's fingerprint sensor. We do know, however, that Google opted for a different in-display fingerprint sensor than what it used in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Rick Osterloh, the senior vice president of devices and services at Google, confirmed this fact to Android Central during Google I/O 2022.

When the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro launched, we found the fingerprint sensor to be hit-or-miss. While it works just fine for some people, others found it a frustrating and slow way of unlocking the phone securely. Over the months since the Pixel 6 was released, Google has issued several updates that have improved the speed and performance of the fingerprint sensor, but it's still not nearly as fast or accurate as in-display fingerprint sensors on other phones.

Among the best Android phones, the vast majority now rely on in-display fingerprint scanners to provide a biometrically-secure method of unlocking in a sleek and discrete way. While the first generation of in-display fingerprint sensors circa early 2019 left a bit to be desired, the technology has progressed monumentally over the past few years and is now equal in speed and accuracy to the dedicated fingerprint sensors of yore.

We imagine Google will have learned from feedback on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro and chosen a better fingerprint sensor — not just a different one — for the Pixel 6a. Of course, we'll make the final assessment when Google releases the phone on July 28, 2022 in 12 countries. You'll be able to preorder the Pixel 6a beginning July 21 for $449.

Nicholas Sutrich
Nicholas Sutrich
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu