While many people have complained about the fingerprint sensor in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro over the last six months, the incoming Pixel 6a may be different. Although a change does not guarantee that all issues will be resolved, Google has stated that the future mid-range phone, which is believed to include an in-display fingerprint sensor, would not employ the same sensor as previous phones.
The information comes from Android Central, which says to have confirmed the change with Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of devices and services. More precise information was not provided.
While fingerprint unlocking issues on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro didn’t appear to affect everyone, many people complained about them, and our reviews at Android Police noted them right away. The best way to describe performance back then was “inconsistent,” with the fingerprint sensor occasionally failing to operate properly and unlock times that seemed to be random.
Following upgrades, some device users claim that performance improved, and Google’s changelogs confirm that the fingerprint sensor has been modified in software over time. However, the performance of fingerprint unlock on Google’s most recent phones is still inferior to that of other high-end handsets.
Google claimed at one point that the observed performance could be due to its “enhanced security algorithms.” A change in hardware may or may not improve matters on its own.
Previous research revealed that the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro employ a Goodix optical sensor, but attempts to confirm this with the company were unsuccessful – agreements or other arrangements may have prevented this. Other phones using Goodix sensors (such as OnePlus phones) have had excellent fingerprint unlocking performance, making the Pixel 6 series’ issues even more perplexing. It’s unknown whether the Pixel 6a will employ another Goodix sensor (the firm produces several) or a new brand or technology. There are several types of under-display sensors.
In some circumstances, the fingerprint sensor on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro does not get “calibrated” correctly after repairs, according to Google. Although the nature of the problem was inconsistent, a bug report for the issue suggests that it has still not been resolved.
Different hardware doesn’t always imply “better,” but it does open the prospect to greater fingerprint unlocking performance on the Pixel 6a, which must fill some big shoes as the successor to one of last year’s greatest devices. Although the Pixel 5a’s rear-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor had a narrow lip that made it difficult to locate without a case, it was consistent, fast, and trustworthy. Hopefully, the same can be said with the Pixel 6a.