Google pins slow Pixel 6 fingerprint recognition on 'enhanced security'

The explanation won't help much if you're frustrated.

David Imel for Engadget

Ask Pixel 6 owners about their top gripe and they'll likely point to the slow, finicky fingerprint sensor. There may be an explanation for that momentary anguish, though. Google is telling users that the Pixel 6's fingerprint reader is using "enhanced security algorithms" that may either take longer to check your digits or require better sensor contact.

Google hasn't elaborated on its statement. We've asked Google for comment.

Some users have suggested the sluggish performance might be due to Google's use of an optical under-display fingerprint reader instead of the ultrasonic sensor found in phones like the Galaxy S21. However, Reddit users noted there are phones with optical sensors that perform faster, such as the OnePlus 9. There's a real chance software may play a role in the Pixel 6's quirks.

It's not certain if Google can or will address this through a software update. Whether or not it can, it's unlikely to provide an alternative beyond entering your passcode. Face unlock is typically insecure without a depth sensor present, as facial recognition systems can sometimes be fooled by masks and photos. Short some kind of revision, you might just have to be patient when using the latest Pixel flagship.