Google has left code in Android 12 to enable face unlock on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro
The winding story of the Pixel 6 series and its biometric authentication methods continues. Before Google unveiled its latest smartphones, leaked marketing assets suggested that the pair would support face and fingerprint recognition. Previously, most Pixel smartphones have supported one or the other, with the Pixel 4 series the only in Google's back catalogue with 3D facial recognition.
At launch, neither the Pixel 6 nor the Pixel 6 Pro utilised facial recognition, despite other evidence suggesting that Google had been developing the unlock method. The reception of Google's first in-display fingerprint scanners have been hit-and-miss too; most recently, it emerged that fingerprint recognition breaks if you let your Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro drop to 0% charge.
It turns out that Google has left references to 'face unlock' in Android 12 source code, though. As the screenshot below shows, Google has codenamed the feature 'Tuscany' which uses Machine Learning (ML) within Tensor to help with facial recognition. It remains to be seen why Google pulled face unlock from the Pixel 6 series when it included it in marketing assets.
Google has already brought Adaptive Sound to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, albeit without any warning. If face unlock makes its way to the Pixel 6 series, we suspect it will arrive via one of Google's many Feature Drops.