Google is gearing up to finally fix the biggest Pixel 4 security flaw... soon

Google is gearing up to finally fix the biggest Pixel 4 security flaw... soon
Two long years after Apple unveiled the first iPhone generation equipped with a state-of-the-art facial recognition system, Google finally followed suit, leaving plenty of top bezel space for a similarly advanced 3D face unlock mechanism on the Pixel 4 and 4 XL.

But while our in-depth review deemed the feature blazing fast and impressively accurate, the search giant came under fire for a pretty shocking security oversight. As detailed on Google's own support portal, anyone can unlock your fancy high-end handset simply by holding it up to your face when facial recognition is enabled, even if the eyes of the phone's rightful owner are closed.

Naturally, that last part prompted serious concerns and heated controversy, although to its credit, Big G was quick to promise a security improvement set to be delivered by way of a software update "in the coming months." Unfortunately, that was way back in October, and in the meantime, the Pixel 4 and 4 XL have received several monthly patches and "feature drops", none of which included the promised face unlock enhancement.


For what it's worth, the folks over at Android Police seem to have discovered some definitive proof suggesting Google is still working on a fix, which could be enabled in the near future. Apparently, there's already an option visible in the Pixel 4's settings menu for requiring a user's eyes to be open before the phone can be unlocked with this biometric recognition technology.

The problem is the option doesn't actually do anything yet and the only way to find it is by typing the word "eyes" in the settings menu's search box. But this could mean a public rollout is right around the corner. Of course, the right thing to do would be to enforce the new "policy" for all users rather than adding this extra layer of security as an option some people may never find out about, but that's certainly still better than nothing.

In case you're wondering, no, Apple's Face ID system does not work with your eyes closed, and the same goes for many other facial authentication solutions from other companies, including those that are inherently less secure than Google's face unlock setup by using rudimentary 2D technology.

Related phones

Pixel 4
  • Display 5.7 inches
    2280 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP (Dual camera)
    8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, 6GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, not expandable
  • Battery 2800 mAh
  • OS Android 10
Pixel 4 XL
  • Display 6.3 inches
    3040 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP (Dual camera)
    8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, 6GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, not expandable
  • Battery 3700 mAh
  • OS Android 10

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