The Pixel 7 finally reintroduces Google’s Face Unlock feature, which originally debuted in the Pixel 4 smartphone. But you’ll still want to use the fingerprint sensor on the Pixel 7, as Face Unlock doesn’t work with Google Pay or app logins.
This limitation was first noticed by Max Weinbach, a journalist and contributor to 9to5Google. Shortly after the launch of the Pixel 7, Weinbach tweeted that his Pixel 7 Pro automatically declines all contactless payments.
Apparently, Weinbach encountered this problem because he was trying to enable Google Pay with Face Unlock. As explained by Mishaal Rahman by Esper, Face Unlock is a biometric “Class 1” system, meaning it’s not secure enough to unlock Google Pay or sign into apps.
Seems like some bad UX is confusing a lot of Pixel 7 users right now. If you unlock your phone with face authentication and then try to make a contactless payment via Google Pay, the payment will be declined and you’ll be prompted to unlock your phone with your fingerprint.
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) 16 October 2022
An official statement from Google, which was obtained by CaschysBlog’s Felix Frank, provides further clarification. “For secure activities like app login and payment on the Pixel 7 or Pixel 7 Pro, you can use a fingerprint lock or rely on a strong PIN or password.”
We are not exactly surprised by these limitations. Unlike the Face ID system on iOS, which uses lasers to measure the depth of your face, Android’s face unlock doesn’t use depth sensors or other fancy technology. It simply scans a 2D image of your face. (Samsung is the exception here, as it combines face unlock with iris scanning.)
Technically, the Pixel 7 is better equipped for face unlock than previous Android phones. Machine learning algorithms and the new autofocus selfie lens should offer an increased level of security. But I doubt Google will upgrade the Pixel 7’s face unlock beyond a “Class 1” system.
We are currently working on our Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro reviews. And we’re excited to share how we feel about the new face unlock system, along with all the other upgrades included in these phones. Join our free newsletter to read reviews as they drop.
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