Android 13 QPR1 details Pixel 6 Pro face unlock
Back in April, we reported that the Pixel 6 Pro would launch with Face Unlock, and we’ve since detailed Google’s continued development of the feature. Android 13 QPR1 reveals what the end-user Pixel Face Unlock experience will be like.
About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we have decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we can see various lines of code hinting at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. However, we will try to activate the ones that are closer to completion, to show you what they will look like in case they are sent. With that in mind, read on.
Android 13 QPR1 Beta 1 was released today and contains several strings detailing what to expect. First, Google says “Face Unlock works best when there’s enough light and you’re not wearing a mask or dark glasses.”
While dark sunglasses are discouraged, normal specs are supported:
If you usually wear glasses, you can wear them during setup
As for bright environments, it more or less confirms that Google’s latest approach is camera-based and doesn’t require additional hardware. This differs greatly from the Pixel 4’s combination of IR cameras, dot projector and floodlight, as well as Soli Motion Sense to speed up the whole process.
Rather, the Pixel 6 Pro’s front-facing camera specifically supports dual-pixel auto-focus (DPAF) to generate depth maps of your face, while Google credits Tensor with allowing for faster, more accurate and power-efficient face recognition in the context of photography. Meanwhile, DPAF appears to be present on both the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, but the smaller Pixel 6 definitely has a front-facer that doesn’t support it. These technologies appear to provide the hardware underpinnings of this new face unlock.
You’ll be asked to “hold your phone at eye level” to start the scanning process as shown in this accompanying animation, which replaces one previously used for the Pixel 4. Only one face is supported, compared to Apple Face ID which allows two (intended for significant second).
In terms of accuracy, Google warns that face unlock is “less secure than a strong pattern, PIN, or password.” In addition, the advice includes:
- Looking at your phone can unlock it when you don’t mean to.
- Your phone can be unlocked by someone else if it’s held up to your face, even if your eyes are closed.
- Your phone can be unlocked by someone who looks a lot like you, like an identical sibling
In terms of everyday use, Face Unlock requires you to “pick up the phone or tap the screen.” The scan probably starts when the phone switches from the always-on display (AOD) to the lock screen.
The new code associated with Face Unlock is referred to as “Traffic Light”, with the code found on the Pixel 6 Pro running Android 13 QPR1 Beta 1. Similar references are not found on the Pixel 6 or 6a.
The QPR1 will be stable in December, while the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro are expected in October. The presence of Face Unlock code in the QPR1 could be a sign that it will indeed come to the Pixel 6 Pro after its debut on the flagships. Of course, nothing is set in stone until it actually launches, but Face Unlock is becoming more and more likely for the Pixel 6 Pro.
Thanks to the JEB Decompiler, which some APK Insight teardowns take advantage of.
Dylan Roussel contributed to this article.
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