Google continues to have issues with the in-display fingerprint sensor in its Pixel 6 smartphone. Many consumers had trouble getting the sensor to work following the launch of the handset in October, though Google tried to address the problem with a software update in November.
Unfortunately, the new problem seems to disable the fingerprint sensor entirely, at least for Pixel 6 owners who have had to get their screens repaired. When fixing a Pixel 6 screen, technicians are supposed to run a calibration tool to reset the sensor with the new screen. However, the tool seems to have trouble communicating with the sensor, and often displays the message, “Couldn’t find the unique calibration software for this device.” In those cases, the fingerprint sensor becomes unusable, since it cannot be configured following the repair.
The problem does not seem to occur after every repair, and there does not yet seem to be a pattern about when and why it happens. Some technicians have suggested that the tool is more likely to fail when run through a Windows computer rather than a Chromebook, though that currently seems to be a running theory rather than a proven hypothesis.
As it stands, the issue has been observed in both the standard and Pixel 6 Pro models, regardless of the shop doing the repair. On that front, technicians have failed to recalibrate the sensor at third-party shops and at repair shops with an official Google endorsement.
Interestingly, recent rumors have hinted that Google was originally planning to offer a face-based authentication feature alongside fingerprint recognition in the Pixel 6. If so, the decision to change course could prove to be costly given Google’s ongoing struggles with sensors. Having said that, the code for Face Unlock still seems to be embedded on the phone, so Google might be able to reintroduce the utility with a future update.