Google has said it will release a software update "in the coming months" that will let Pixel 4 owners require their eyes to be open for the phone's Face Unlock security feature to work.

Pixel 4 XL 11 nextrift

Image via NextRift

The acknowledgement follows last week's discovery that the Pixel 4's facial authentication system isn't currently capable of distinguishing a face with eyes open versus eyes closed. The finding immediately sparked concerns that the phone could be opened by anyone simply by waving it in front of its sleeping / dead owner.

Google's Pixel 4 Face Unlock feature replaces the fingerprint sensor and works similarly to Apple's Face ID, which is found on iPhones and iPads that have a TrueDepth camera system. However, Face ID requires by default that the user's eyes are open, although users can turn off this Attention Aware option in settings.

Previously, Google said that Face Unlock "is designed to get better over time with future software updates," but stopped short of committing to deliver the "Require eyes to be open" toggle that was spotted in pre-launch leaks of the Pixel 4's features. Now though, it wants customers to know that the setting is on its way. The company gave the following statement (via The Verge):

We've been 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. In the meantime, if any Pixel 4 users are concerned that someone may take their phone and try to unlock it while their eyes are closed, they can activate a security feature that requires a pin, pattern or password for the next unlock.

Despite the security implications of Face Unlock working even if your eyes are closed, Google still claims the feature "meets the security requirements as a strong biometric, and can be used for payments and app authentication, including banking apps. It is resilient against invalid unlock attempts via other means, like with masks."

Top Rated Comments

christarp Avatar
20 months ago
It's been 2 years and companies are still messing up details Apple nailed down in the first introduction. Crazy to me.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Abazigal Avatar
20 months ago
It’s funny. Every time the pundits claim that Apple is doomed because it’s supposedly an “off” year, the competition does something to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Samsung - galaxy fold fiasco and the note missing the headphone jack

Google - pixel lacking 4K video recording, removal of free photo storage, caveats with their version of Face ID, smaller battery and limited storage options (with no expandable storage to boot). This thing couldn’t have held a candle against the original iPhone X, much less this.

Microsoft - surface neo. Are you kidding me? You have lost the moment you went with android.

Meanwhile, Apple manages to update many of the products in their lineup, update multiple OSes near-simultaneously, and launch a bevy of new services this year.

And people can still claim that Apple is no longer innovating? [emoji854]
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
StellarVixen Avatar
20 months ago
“In the coming months...”




Please, iOS, NEVER cease to exist. Never!
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keysofanxiety Avatar
20 months ago
Time is always the best judge for technology. With all the hurdles competitors have encountered that Apple had already ironed in the first iteration, I think it’s fair to say that Face ID is extremely advanced.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
StellarVixen Avatar
20 months ago

It's been 2 years and companies are still messing up details Apple nailed down in the first introduction. Crazy to me.
It has been said back when iPhone X launched that competition will have no answer for years. Maybe FaceID will be like Taptic Engine. Android phones do not come close to what Apple has.

What is crazy to me is that king of data science and machine learning, Google, cannot develop a working reliable algorithms to detect if eyes are closed or not.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BlueCreek Avatar
20 months ago

Have a iPhone 11, but don’t really see why this is such a big deal - since the main security comes from a 3D map of the face and Google said a patch is coming to cover the attention issue.

Rumors are that Sammy’s S11 will have this (3D Face ID). Be interesting to se how that rolls out as well, if true.
Wouldn’t hold out much hope Samsung’s version of Face ID if the in-display fingerprint reader is anything to go by on the S10, which anyone can unlock using a $1 screen protector.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple watch ecg

Apple Watch Likely to Gain Blood Pressure, Blood Glucose, and Blood Alcohol Monitoring

Monday May 3, 2021 4:03 am PDT by
The Apple Watch may gain the ability to measure blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood alcohol levels, according to newly-revealed information about one of Apple's chosen business partners. Apple has been revealed to be the largest customer of the British electronics start-up Rockley Photonics, The Telegraph reports. Rockley Photonics has developed non-invasive optical sensors for...
tile sticker e1570533758981

Tile CEO: 'We Welcome Competition From Apple, But We Think It Needs to Be Fair'

Tuesday May 4, 2021 9:51 am PDT by
Just after Apple announced its AirTags, Tile CEO CJ Prober relayed his concerns about competing with Apple in the tracking space, and said that Tile would ask Congress to investigate Apple's business practices specific to Find My and item trackers. Prober this week did an interview with Bloomberg, where he further expanded on Tile's complaints about Apple and why he feels that Tile is...
facebook instargram updated att prompt 1

Facebook and Instagram Ask Users to Enable App Tracking in Order to Keep Services 'Free of Charge'

Sunday May 2, 2021 1:22 pm PDT by
As a way to convince users to enable tracking across other apps and websites, Facebook is deploying the tactic of telling users that they must enable tracking as part of the App Tracking Transparency framework in iOS 14.5 if they want to help keep Facebook and Instagram "free of charge." App Tracking Transparency or ATT is the newest privacy feature to come to iPhone and iPad devices as part ...
fortnite apple logo 2

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney Admits App Store's 30% Cut Is Similar to Consoles, Would Have Accepted Special Deal With Apple

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:54 pm PDT by
Apple's legal battle with Epic Games is continuing on, and during the second day of the trial, Epic Games' CEO Tim Sweeney continued his testimony against Apple. Sweeney was grilled by Apple's lawyers, and made several points seemingly favorable to Apple. In addition to mentioning how he prefers Apple's iPhone and values Apple's privacy policies that he's aiming to dismantle, Sweeney...
Flat 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature 1

Mini-LED Display Production Improving for Redesigned MacBook Pro Models Later This Year

Monday May 3, 2021 8:33 am PDT by
Apple supplier TSMT, a key vendor involved in the production of mini-LED displays in the newly announced 12.9-inch iPad Pro, has been able to address technical challenges for the production of mini-LED displays to be used in the upcoming 14 and 16-inch redesigned MacBook Pro models. As reported by DigiTimes, TSMT had initially been facing production constraints with the circuit board and...
signal instagram ads3

Signal Shares the Instagram Ads Facebook Doesn't Want You to See

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:29 am PDT by
Encrypted messaging app Signal has had a series of Instagram ads blocked from the social media platform, after it attempted to show users how much data the Facebook-owned company collects about them and how it's used to push targeted ads. In a blog post, Signal described how it generated the ads to show users why they were seeing them, simply by declaring upfront the information that the...
Foldable iPhone 2023 Feature Yellow

Kuo: Apple to Launch 8-Inch Foldable iPhone in 2023

Sunday May 2, 2021 8:43 pm PDT by
Apple is working to launch a foldable iPhone with an 8-inch QHD+ flexible OLED display in 2023, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was seen by MacRumors. Based on our latest industry survey, we forecast that Apple will likely launch a foldable iPhone with an 8-inch QHD+ flexible OLED display in 2023, with SDC as the exclusive display supplier and Samsung Foundry...
iOS 14 on iPhone feature emergency

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 14.5.1 With Fixes for App Tracking Transparency Bug, WebKit Security Issues

Monday May 3, 2021 10:04 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.5.1, minor security updates that come just a week after the release of the iOS 14.5 update. There is also a companion watchOS 7.4.1 update for Apple Watch and an iOS 12.5.3 update for older iPhone and iPad devices that don't support Apple's latest operating system versions. According to Apple's release notes, the update fixes a bug with App Tracking...
airtags teardown tile mat galaxy smarttag

iFixit Shares AirTag Teardown Revealing 'Impressively Compact' Design Compared to Tile Mate and Galaxy SmartTag

Sunday May 2, 2021 4:54 am PDT by
iFixit has shared the first of its two-part series in tearing down Apple's AirTag item tracker, revealing that Apple had to make impressive design decisions to achieve its small design, including rethinking the speaker layout. For comparison, iFixit compared Apple's AirTag to the Tile Mate and the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag. Compared to the competition, AirTag is the smallest in size, with the...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With Brydge's 12.9-Inch iPad Pro Keyboard With Trackpad

Tuesday May 4, 2021 11:48 am PDT by
Brydge has been making keyboards for Apple's iPads for years now, and the newest model, the Brydge 12.9 MAX+, is compatible with the third, fourth, and fifth-generation iPad Pro models, so it works even with the new mini-LED iPad Pro. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In our latest YouTube video, we checked out the new Brydge 12.9 MAX+ to see if it's a viable...