Notebookcheck Logo

Google Pixel 6a reviewers claim to encounter a potentially serious device security issue

Does the Pixel 6a have an unlocking problem? (Source: Beebom via YouTube)
Does the Pixel 6a have an unlocking problem? (Source: Beebom via YouTube)
The Pixel 6a is Google's latest smartphone, and is thus only just now getting into the hands of YouTube reviewers. Two of these channels have found that their experience with the device has been marred by a strange and possibly severe bug. Their units' in-display fingerprint scanners allegedly unlock their screens in response to the detection of fingers that were never registered in their UIs.

Some of the latest Google Pixel 6a video reviews have identified what might be a whole new problem associated with the new mid-range smartphone's front panel. It is not the display's underwhelming 60Hz refresh rate, or even its surprisingly noticeable bezels, this time either, but has to do with the fingerprint scanner set within it.

This aspect of mobile device hardware has become a method of keeping screen unlocking under strict user control that consumers have come to take for granted over the years, and is an advantage that has become all but exclusive to Android moreover. Therefore, it may be particularly odd that a new fingerprint-scanning display - put on the market by Google, no less - should fail to ensure device security as intended.

Nevertheless, this is exactly what Beebom asserts happened with this channel's Pixel 6a review unit. The host claimed to have only registered 3 fingerprints belonging to 2 staff members using the device, yet has filmed a scene in which 2 additional, apparently unscanned, people could unlock the smartphone.

Geekyranjit is another tech YouTuber who subsequently claimed to replicate the bug with an unregistered thumbprint compared to one that had been saved. Then again, neither video includes shots that, for example, involve the process of saving one fingerprint, then unlocking the 6a with another in full thus far.

Nevertheless, should either claim meet with such conclusive verification, Google just might have a serious consumer complaint on its hands. In addition, it would be ironic in light of a pre-release leak asserting that the latest affordable-class Pixel exhibited improved fingerprint-unlocking latency compared to its flagship counterpart, thanks to an updated module.

Then again, this is not the only sign of QA lapses in the 6a's production: PBK Reviews found scratches on its surface out of the box, for example. On the other hand, this bug might ultimately prove to be more of a software issue, and, thus, an easy fix for its Mountain View-based OEM. In the meantime, we'll be sure to keep an eye out for its recurrence as we test the Pixel 6a for our own upcoming review.

Grab the Pixel 6 as a renewed unit on Amazon

static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment on this article
Please share our article, every link counts!
.170
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 07 > Google Pixel 6a reviewers claim to encounter a potentially serious device security issue
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2022-07-27 (Update: 2022-07-27)