It’s Possible That Google’s Next Pixel Phone Will Include a Face Unlock Option

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Someday, there could be a face unlock feature available on the Pixel 6. Maybe. 
Photo: Sam Rutherford / Gizmodo – According to the code, Google attempted to implement face recognition but was unable to do it in time. People are pleading with Google to bring back the face unlock functionality from prior Pixel phones on Twitter in recent days. To make room for an in-screen fingerprint sensor, Samsung omitted the ability from its current flagship. (That functionality has also been noted to have troubles by certain users.)

It’s possible that the fingerprint scanner is too sluggish or that you’ve overlooked the fact that your face is the key. The Pixel has a face unlock function hiding in the shadows of its operating system. In the latest Pixel 6 commit dump released by XDA Developers, a face unlock functionality is mentioned.

On July 9, Google made a change to the PowerHAL config file of the Pixel 6 that was noticed by a developer. The “Tuscany” function mentioned in the product description appears to be face unlock. Tuscany is mentioned as being used for “intensive picture processing” and that the “worst case scenario” is that it does not try to unlock the phone. Twitter is where the developer goes into further detail about their results (though much of it requires knowledge of source code before trying to parse).

As far as we can tell, before the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro were released, Google was working on a face unlock function. Face unlock may already be built into the hardware, but Google may not have activated it because of certain problems that need to be ironed out first.

It’s just guesswork at this point, as Google hasn’t explicitly stated that the functionality is no longer available. Other evidence has surfaced, including leaked advertisement and a screenshot displaying the functionality alongside the fingerprint unlock, which indicates that the feature was in the works. We don’t know yet if Google plans to just turn the switch on at some time.