Google’s latest flagship smartphone, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro has a Class 3 biometric security system that allows users to unlock their device, authenticate payments, and sign in to apps with just a glance. However, a recent report on Reddit suggests that this face unlock system may not be as secure as Google claims.
According to the user u/MotorTransportation8, their Pixel 8 Pro’s face unlock system would recognize their brother each time, despite both looking “very different”. The user also confirmed that they did not have Extend Unlock activated on their phone, a feature that keeps Pixel phones unlocked in some user-defined situations.
This is the first report we have seen about the Pixel 8 Pro’s face unlock getting fooled by a different face. Class 3 biometric security means there should ideally be a very low chance of the system being deceived by a recorded sample like a photo or a similar-looking person. However, there is still a margin of error, and foolproof security is not guaranteed.
Google has not commented on this issue yet, but it is possible that the face unlock system may have been accidentally trained on the user’s brother’s face. This could happen if the user asks their brother to enter the phone’s passcode after an unsuccessful facial recognition attempt. Google’s support document states that “Face Unlock will also update this data when it detects a close match but a passcode is subsequently entered to unlock the device.”
It is unfair to deem this a major and widespread issue until we have more details and hear from more Pixel 8 users. However, this report does raise some concerns about the reliability and security of the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro’s face unlock system. Users who are worried about this may want to use other methods of locking their device, such as a PIN, pattern, or password.