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Pixel 6 May Not Get Face Unlock, Unlike Its 'Pro' Sibling

Google Pixel 6 pro Review AM AH 03
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The Google Pixel 6 may not get face unlock, but the same cannot be said for the Pixel 6 Pro. Why is that? Well, the two phones use different front-facing cameras, and in this case, that is important.

The Google Pixel 6 Pro may end up offering ‘Face Unlock’, unlike its sibling

The Google Pixel 6 Pro includes an 11.1-megapixel front-facing camera, while the Pixel 6 comes with an 8-megapixel unit. Those are two completely different sensors. The Pixel 6 Pro includes the Sony IMX663 sensor, which supports dual-pixel auto-focus (DPAF). The Sony IMX355, which is found inside the Pixel 6, does not.

Google has been using DPAF for quite some time now. It was used in the Pixel 2 even, to create depth maps for Portrait Mode, notes 9to5Google. It did that by only using a single camera.

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With the Pixel 3, Google improved PDAF-generated depth estimation with machine learning. It improved things again with the Pixel 4 thanks to dual-pixels and dual rear cameras.

So, why is DPAF important? It could be quite useful for capturing the contours of your face, while Google has depth-from-motion algorithms that require just a single RGB camera. It has those thanks to ARCore.

The Google Tensor SoC may also play an important part here

The Google Tensor could play a part in the whole equation as well. That chip ensures faster ML processing, and it would enable more accurate face detection while using less power to do it.

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This is why Google may bring face unlock to the Pixel 6 Pro, and not the Pixel 6. In fact, the ‘Face Unlock’ setting even appeared on the Pixel 6 Pro running Android 13 Beta 1. It’s not usable at the moment, but the UI is there. That definitely signals that the feature is coming.

The same option did not appear on the Pixel 6, which may prove that this report is accurate, and that only the ‘Pro’ unit will get the feature. We’ll have to wait and see what will happen, but it seems like the feature is coming soon.