The rumoured face unlock feature for the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro may arrive in a future update, like one of Google’s regular Pixel feature drops.
According to an XDA Recognized Developer who goes by ‘Freak07’ (@mile_freak07 on Twitter), Pixel 6 devices still include code related to face unlock in the ‘PowerHAL’ config file. In a series of tweets, Freak07 said that Google added a tool for face unlock to the config file under the internal codename ‘Tuscany’ back in July.
Freak07 also shared a link to a commit about face unlock, which seems to focus on adjusting power usage to save battery.
On July 9th a change was commited to the pixel 6´s powerhal config file for "face unlock".
Apparently google is calling the feature "Tuscany" in this commit.
There might still be hope the feature will surface in the next feature drop.
— Mile (@mile_freak07) November 10, 2021
Some readers may remember that leaked marketing material from before the Pixel 6 launch showed off the face unlock feature. However, face unlock wasn’t on the Pixel 6 series at launch. Although it’s unclear why Google didn’t include face unlock — perhaps there were too many bugs, or maybe developers weren’t able to reduce the battery hit caused by Tuscany.
Regardless, some code for face unlock remains in the Pixel 6 PowerHAL file. That could mean Google’s working on bringing face unlock to Pixel 6 phones in the future, or it could just be some leftover code from previous work on the file.
Even if Google did bring face unlock to the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, it’s not clear how it’d work. The only other Pixels with face unlock were the Pixel 4 and 4 XL, which had dedicated hardware for it. The Pixel 6 series doesn’t have that hardware, which likely means the phone would use the front-facing camera — as we’ve learned with similar attempts from other phones, camera-based face unlock isn’t exactly secure or reliable.