The Google Pixel 4 smartphone debuted a Face Unlock feature that was supposed to bring the flagship Android phone in line with Apple’s practically watertight Face ID authentication tool.
However, it was just a matter of days before eagle-eyed (get it?) Pixel 4 testers discovered an absolutely staggering flaw in Google’s master plan: the Face Unlock feature worked while the user’s eyes were closed.
So, if you happened to fall asleep around someone untrustworthy, or a friend with a wicked sense of humour, it would be easy for them to unlock your phone. Here’s BBC Click’s Chris Fox demonstrating the staggering oversight at the time.
Google promised a fix for the issue back in October 2019, saying it was “working on an option for users to require their eyes to be open to unlock the phone, which will be delivered in a software update in the coming months.” However, until now the ability to use Face Unlock without worrying about who is around has eluded users.
It now appears as if we’ll have to wait until Android 11 for the remedy, judging by a new feature spied within the Android 11 DP2 released today.
Related: Pixel 5
9to5Google spotted a new toggle switch within the Face Unlock settings menu, where users can choose a ‘Require eyes to be open’ option in order for the biometric security feature to work.
It’s possible Google will launch this feature sooner rather than later, considering Android 11 probably won’t arrive on Pixel 4 phones until late summer at the earliest.
The site doesn’t have any details on whether the feature is actually working within DP2. It’s possible it could just be a placeholder at this time, given how early we are in the release cycle for Android 11.
We’re expecting to hear far more about Android 11 at the online-only Google I/O conference, which is taking place in May.