Skip to main content

Google responds to complaints about Pixel 6 fingerprint sensor

Owners of Google’s new Pixel 6 smartphone have been complaining about the slow response time of its in-screen fingerprint sensor, or its failure to work at all.

That’s a real pain in the neck (or finger) when you’re left prodding the display in an increasingly desperate bid to access your new Google handset, with many owners ending up having to tap in their PIN.

Spotted by Engadget, Google finally acknowledged the issue on Sunday, November 7, though the company didn’t exactly offer a fix.

Responding to a tweet (below) from a Pixel 6 owner named Ian who complained that the problem was ruining his experience with the new phone, Google said it was “sorry for the hassle,” adding: “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.”

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: Thanks. ^Levi

— Made By Google (@madebygoogle) November 6, 2021

There is no mention of the software fix that Ian said he was hoping for, nor does Google suggest that there’s any kind of fault with the new phone.

The company told Ian to check out its list of troubleshooting tips, but later said that none of them worked, adding that the sensor was “still very inaccurate.”

He added that he was using a screen protector on the Pixel 6 and had activated the “increase touch sensitivity” button (accessible via Settings/Display/Advanced) that Google says enhances the sensor’s responsiveness when a protector is on the display. But the problem persisted.

Digital Trends’ senior mobile writer Andy Boxall also noted the same problem in his recent hands-on review of the Pixel 6 Pro, describing the sensor as “slow and unreliable,” despite registering his print several times.

This is the first Pixel phone to use an in-screen fingerprint sensor and so the concern is that Google may have failed to thoroughly test it prior to release. The Pixel 5 had a sensor mounted on the back of the device, while the Pixel 4 used face unlock.

We’ve reached out to Google to see if it can offer more information on the issue, and whether it’s considering a software update to fix it, and we will update this article when we hear back.

Experiencing other issues with your Pixel 6? Then we might have a fix for you.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Did you buy a Google Pixel 8a? These are the first 9 things you need to do
Google Pixel 8a in Aloe.

Ahead of Google I/O 2024, Google revealed the Google Pixel 8a, and it’s turning out to be one of the best phone values in a while. It boasts a beautiful OLED display that now sports a 120Hz refresh rate, the Tensor G3 chip, Gemini Nano, a larger battery, wireless charging, and a refreshed design with some fun new colors. In short, there's a lot to dig into.

There is definitely a lot to like about the Google Pixel 8a, and as such, we don't blame you if you aren't sure where to start. If you just picked one up, then make sure you do these things first!
Turn on Smooth Display

Read more
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 may fix my biggest issue with the Z Fold 5
A person holding the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, seen from the side.

I ordered my first folding smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, in February of this year. I was excited, but I was also more than a little apprehensive. This was an entirely new form factor for me, as I'd never used a folding smartphone before. I'd used phones, I'd used tablets, but I'd never used both of them at the same time.

At the start of my experience, I was worried principally about how much I'd use the phone's headline feature: the big inner display. After all, if I didn't end up using it, didn't that defeat the whole point of the device?

Read more
This is our best look yet at the Google Pixel 9 series
Pixel 9, Pixel 9 Pro and Pixel 9 XL leaks.

The Google Pixel 9 (from left), Pixel 9 Pro, and Pixel 9 XL Rozetked

When they finally launch, the Google Pixel 9, Pixel 9 Pro, and Pixel 9 Pro XL will not have many surprises — at least not when it comes to their design. Rozetked has revealed a series of new images showing the front, back, and sides of the Pixel 9 and Pixel 9 Pro XL, along with comparisons to previous Pixel models and the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.

Read more