Pixel 4 adds an 'eyes open' check for using face unlock

Ruben Fields
April 7, 2020

The update, as has become customary with Pixel monthly updates, brings with it not just general Android security patches but also Pixel-specific security patches and feature and functional Pixel updates. Even more risky, a criminal could decide to knock you unconscious and then put the phone up to your face to open it. The new update that was rolled out on Monday adds option for "eyes to be open" while using the Face Unlock security feature to unlock Pixel 4 smartphones. This worked so well that it went some way to compensate for Google's decision to remove the rather good fingerprint scanner found on the rear of previous Pixel phones, like the Pixel 3a.

Apple's Face ID system checks the user is actually looking at the iPhone.

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The Pixel 4 was criticised early on for its lack of security in that the phone could be unlocked while your eyes were closed (eg. asleep). For those who like to do it manually you can find the April factory images here and the OTA files here. These include a fix for a memory leak that can prevent additional Bluetooth Low Energy connections and a fix for dropped Bluetooth audio input in calls, plus a fix for occasional lag when opening the keyboard in certain apps.

These tweaks won't dramatically change your experience with the Pixel 4, but they do help make it a little more secure and stable.

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