Google has followed through on its promises and fixed a major security flaw in the Pixel 4. The issue stems from the smartphone’s Face Unlock feature, which would grant access to people who had their eyes closed when the phone was released in October.
Thankfully, the latest Pixel software update finally closes that loophole. The update (which was released on April 6) introduces a “require eyes to be open” feature, and makes it the new default setting for the phone. That brings the Pixel 4 more in line with Apple’s rival Face ID system, which has had an eyes-open mandate since Face ID was introduced in 2017.
The eyes open failsafe prevents the phone from being unlocked while the owner of the phone is asleep. The feature makes it more difficult for unauthorized individuals to gain access to the phone (and any apps on that phone) while the device is unattended.
Google previously teased the update with an Android Developer Preview that was released in March. While it is obviously an improvement, the BBC notes that the Pixel 4 Unlock System does not yet rise to the level Face ID, which asks users to look directly at the phone.
The updated Pixel lacks that layer of liveness detection. The phone only asks that the eyes be open, so it can still verify someone who is not consciously engaging with the phone.