The Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro have a lot going for them, but their fingerprint scanners aren’t one of them. Users have been complaining about the Pixel 6’s sluggish, unreliable fingerprint sensor since its release in October, claiming that it makes the phone difficult to unlock. Google has finally replied to the complaints, but while it gave an explanation, it didn’t truly offer a remedy.
Google blames the problem on the Pixel 6’s fingerprint scanner’s “improved security algorithms,” according to a response on Twitter. These security measures, according to Google, can make verifying your fingerprint “take longer or require more direct contact with the sensor.” It then provides a link to a Google support page that doesn’t really offer much help, except recommending that you keep your fingers clean and use a finger that has been registered with the phone.
Other Twitter users’ responses indicate that it could be a hardware issue. The Pixel 6 has an optical fingerprint reader under the screen rather than a speedy ultrasonic one like the Samsung Galaxy S21, which some users believe is the cause of the sensor’s poor performance. However, as reported by Engadget, some Reddit users claim that the optical fingerprint reader on other OnePlus phones works perfectly, presumably indicating a software issue exclusive to the Pixel 6.
For the time being, it appears that there is no apparent solution to the Pixel 6’s finicky fingerprint scanner, and Google’s response is at best ambiguous. It’s unclear whether Google will be able to fix the problem with a software update, or if the scanner’s ostensibly “improved” security system is actually choosy about which prints it accepts.
You’ll have to type in your PIN until Google decides to bring back face unlock, which has its own security vulnerabilities. Otherwise, the Pixel 6 will put your patience to the test as you repeatedly try to scan your fingerprint.