What you need to know
- Google will update the Pixel 4's face unlock feature to require eye detection.
- The feature will be available via a software update that will be rolled out in the coming months.
- Face unlock is the only biometric authentication system available on the Pixel 4, with the phone lacking a fingerprint sensor.
Google introduced an IR-based face unlock system on the Pixel 4 that it claims is just as secure as a fingerprint sensor. Google is so confident in its abilities that it doesn't offer a traditional fingerprint sensor on the Pixel 4 as a result.
However, reviewers soon found that face unlock works even with eyes closed, unlike other IR-based systems. That understandably led to a lot of consternation, and Google has now confirmed in a statement that it will roll out an update to the Pixel 4's face unlock system that will require eye detection. The downside? The update will only be available "in the coming months:"
We've been working on an option for users to require their eyes to be open to unlock the phone, which will be delivered in a software update in the coming months. In the meantime, if any Pixel 4 users are concerned that someone may take their phone and try to unlock it while their eyes are closed, they can activate a security feature that requires a pin, pattern or password for the next unlock.
For what it's worth, Google maintains that face unlock in its current state is just as secure as other biometric authentication systems:
Pixel 4 face unlock meets the security requirements as a strong biometric, and can be used for payments and app authentication, including banking apps. It is resilient against invalid unlock attempts via other means, like with masks.
It's good to see Google listening to feedback and offering a feature that should have been available out of the box. It's frustrating that the update won't be available for a few months. In the meantime, Google is advising Pixel 4 customers to use the lockdown option as an added safeguard.
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