Google Says the Pixel 6’s Slower Fingerprint Sensor Is Due to ‘Enhanced Security’

Google Says the Pixel 6’s Slower Fingerprint Sensor Is Due to ‘Enhanced Security’
Photo: Sam Rutherford

The Pixel 6 is easily one of this year’s best phones, but it ain’t perfect, and now Google is defending the slightly slower speed of the Pixel 6’s fingerprint sensor, saying it’s part of its efforts to provide increased security.

As I pointed out in our review, the Pixel 6’s in-screen fingerprint sensor (which is the first time Google has used this tech in one of its phones) is generally quite accurate, but still feels a touch slower than some in-screen sensors on competing phones like the Galaxy S21.

Now, after being asked about the performance of the sensor on Twitter, the official @MadebyGoogle account has responded with a post saying that the Pixel 6’s sensor uses “enhanced security algorithms” that can sometimes cause the phone to take a little longer or require more contact with the sensor before unlocking the phone.

While Google’s response may not do a lot for people hoping to unlock their Pixel 6 slightly faster, the emphasis on increased security is probably a prudent decision when looking back at some of the issues Samsung had with the Galaxy S10, which was Samsung’s first phone to feature an in-screen fingerprint sensor.

If you do want to speed up your Pixel 6’s fingerprint unlock times, there are a couple of things you can do. While this first step is somewhat basic, people looking for faster unlock times may want to consider re-enrolling their fingerprints, taking care to ensure that their fingers are clean of otherwise innocuous things like sweat or oils and that you’re allowing the sensor to fully scan the entire tip of your digits. As someone who tests a lot of phones, even I mess this up sometimes, especially when I’m setting up new phones and I’m trying to skip ahead to explore more exciting features.

The other thing you can do is turn on increased touch sensitivity in the Pixel 6 by going into the Pixel’s Display settings, and enabling the toggle for “Increase touch sensitivity.” While the feature is described in the phone as improving touch response when using the phone with a screen protector, many users have also found that it slightly increases the Pixel 6’s fingerprint sensor recognition as well.

In the end, while the Pixel 6’s fingerprint sensor may not be quite as speedy as similar tech on other phones, it’s still really nice having the option to unlock your phone with your fingerprint instead of your face when masks remain such a necessity while travelling or commuting.