Google Pixel 6a’s Fingerprint Scanner Has a Security Bug

The Google Pixel 6a can apparently be unlocked even with unregistered fingerprints. We also found the same behaviour on our Pixel 6a review unit.

Google Pixel 6a’s Fingerprint Scanner Has a Security Bug

The Google Pixel 6a can apparently be unlocked with unregistered fingerprints

Highlights
  • The Pixel 6a apparently allows unregistered fingerprints to unlock
  • Multiple Indian tech reviewers have noticed the same behaviour
  • It is not known if the issue is software or hardware related

Google Pixel 6a was recently launched in India at Rs. 43,999 and is scheduled to go on sale on July 28. Ahead of its first sale, it looks like the Google Pixel 6a is facing some issues with its fingerprint scanner. Apparently, the Google Pixel 6a is allowing unregistered fingerprints to unlock the device. At this point it is unknown if it is a software bug or a failure at the hardware level.

The Google Pixel 6a's in-display fingerprint scanner apparently has a security flaw that is authenticating even unregistered fingerprints to unlock the smartphone. This issue was spotted by Beebom and later confirmed by tech YouTuber Geeky Ranjit and 91Mobiles. We also found the same issue on our Google Pixel 6a review unit. Our unit could be unlocked with my left thumb even though it was never registered on the Pixel 6a. However, it did not unlock when a third person tried to unlock the phone using their fingerprint. Gadgets 360 has reached out to Google regarding this issue and we are awaiting a response.

After re-registering my fingerprint again, the device worked as expected only allowing registered fingerprints to unlock the smartphone. It did not allow my left thumb to unlock the smartphone, but it occasionally did display 'Partial Fingerprint Detected' at the bottom of the screen. It is unknown if this issue is caused by software or is down to the fingerprint scanning hardware. It is worth noting that the Pixel 6a did not get any software update after launch and our unit is still running the dated April 2022 Android security patch.

The Pixel 6a is Google's latest smartphone in India and is powered by the Google Tensor chip, It sports a dual camera setup at the back and packs in a 4,410mAh battery with support for 18W fast charging. The Pixel 6a is guaranteed to get three years of Android security updates and five years of Android security updates.

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Aditya Shenoy
Aditya Shenoy reviews smartphones, wearables, headphones and speakers for Gadgets 360, out of Mumbai. Aditya is a reviewer for Gadgets 360 and has written extensively about smartphones, software updates, and upcoming devices. Aditya is available on Twitter at @adishenoy, and you can mail him at adityashenoy@ndtv.com, so please send in your leads and tips. More
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