The Pixel 4's face unlock now has that vital security feature it was missing at launch

Pixel 4 XL face unlock prompt
Pixel 4 XL face unlock prompt (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • On April 6, Google began rolling out the April 2020 security patch to Pixel phones.
  • It's been discovered that this patch includes a "require eyes to be open" toggle for the Pixel 4's face unlock.
  • This is something that's been missing since launch and makes face unlock much more secure.

The Pixel 4 has one of the best face unlock systems ever seen on an Android phone. It's incredibly fast, uses Motion Sense to engage itself without you having to press the power button, and is the first Android face unlock to work as a form of biometric authentication for major banking apps, password managers, etc.

Unfortunately, ever since the Pixel 4 hit the market back in October 2019, there's been a serious security vulnerability with the way it's set up — it worked even if your eyes were closed. This means someone could grab your phone, hold it up to your face while you were asleep or otherwise weren't paying attention, and have instant access to your device. Thankfully, this has finally been addressed.

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

As part of the April 2020 security patch that began rolling out to the Pixel 4 on April 6, there's a new toggle called "Require eyes to be open." When enabled, you'll need to have your eyes open and looking at the Pixel 4 in order for face unlock to work. If you want to enable the new feature for yourself, go to Settings -> Security -> Face unlock.

This is a feature we've been harping on Google to add for months at this point, so while it is disappointing that it took this long to come to fruition, it certainly is better late than never.

It is interesting that Google didn't explicity mention this addition in its forum post detailing the April 2020 patch, but in any case, it should be there waiting for you once you get your Pixel 4 updated.

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.