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Bottom line: Google made the jump to in-display fingerprint scanners with the Pixel 6/6 Pro, but it seems the decision is not sitting all that well with fans. In what is otherwise a fluid Android experience, the slow, unreliable fingerprint scanner on Google’s latest phones has irked enough users to warrant an official response from the company. The cause, according to Google, has to do with its enhanced security algorithms.
Update (18 Nov): Google has released a minor software update for the Pixel 6 line that addresses the devices' slow fingerprint sensor. XDA Developers report the 14.56MB update is hitting both global and Verizon-locked Pixels, with the carrier posting the following statement in the changelog:
The current software update improves the performance of your device's fingerprint sensor.
While this surprise update should (hopefully) make device unlocks easier and quicker, those experiencing display flickering issues need to wait till next month for Google's OTA fix.
The original story follows below:
Up until the Pixel 5A, Google used a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner that also supported a couple of useful swipe gestures for bringing down notifications or pulling up quick settings. For the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, the company went with a fancier, modern in-display scanner.
While the phones have ended up with a striking, unique design, the in-display optical sensor has been spoiling the experience of Google’s snappy Android UI. Granted that sticking with a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor would have been more intuitive, but in terms of responsiveness and speed, in-display optical fingerprint scanners closed the gap quite a while back (speaking as an OP7 Pro user).
We're sorry for the hassle. The Pixel 6 fingerprint sensor utilizes enhanced security algorithms. In some instances, these added protections can take longer to verify or require more direct contact with the sensor. Try troubleshooting steps: https://t.co/uTbifE5Uyo. Thanks. ^Levi— Made By Google (@madebygoogle) November 6, 2021
The issue has kept Pixel 6/6 Pro users wondering if buggy software is to blame, however, Google has now tweeted in a response (via Engadget) that its ‘enhanced security algorithms’ are causing the hassle. These protections are not only leading to longer verification times in some cases, but also require the user to place their finger more accurately on the sensor, which can further increase frustration.
There’s no word yet on whether Google will release a software update that can tone down the security aspect of its algorithms in favor of user convenience. It is, however, pushing an update next month to fix display flickering issues on the Pixel 6/6 Pro.