Google will update its Pixel 4 face unlock feature to require users have their eyes open


Reviewers say that Google's Pixel 4 has the fastest face unlock feature of any phone. But it is not the most secure: according to Google, Pixel 4 can "be unlocked by someone else if it’s held up to your face, even if your eyes are closed."

A BBC reporter shows how it works on Twitter:

Since the device was announced on October 15, Google has commented on the apparent security lapse and announced it will update the device's face unlock feature to make it more secure.

Google first defended face unlock's security, telling Business Insider that Pixel 4's face unlock "meets the security requirements as a strong biometric, and can be used for payments and app authentication, including banking apps."

The company then said they'd improve the feature in a similarly worded statement, printed in full at The Verge: "We’ve been working on an option for users to require their eyes to be open to unlock the phone, which will be delivered in a software update in the coming months."

It is unclear whether the devices, which will begin shipping October 24, will come with the option. Leaks of the feature appeared online weeks before the phone was ever announced, however, which suggests that it's already in the works.

iOS, users are by default required to look at the phone to unlock it while using its facial recognition infrared sensor.

From The Verge:

By default, Apple’s Face ID requires attention — meaning your eyes need to be open and actively looking at the iPhone or iPad Pro screen — to successfully unlock a device. This setting, which Apple says is an added security measure, can be disabled in settings if a customer so chooses. But Apple clearly states that “requiring attention makes Face ID more secure.”