Google Pixel 6 mystery update may fix fingerprint sensor issue

Google has issued a mysterious update for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, which seems to be intended to fix the well-documented fingerprint sensor issue.

The big G only rolled out its latest security update for its latest flagship phones at the end of October, and the next is due in December, so this half-way point update is more than a little unexpected.

Even more mysteriously, Google has supplied no explanation or change log for this latest Pixel 6 update. The fact that the build number has bumped up a single digit from SD1A.210817.036 to SD1A.210817.037 suggests that it’s a minor tweak.

Mercifully, some clarification appears to have arrived courtesy of Verizon. According to the major US mobile network, this stealthy Pixel 6 update “improves the performance of your device’s fingerprint sensor.”

This relates to a much complained about issue with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Since launch, early adopters have reported that the phones unlock particularly slowly using the provided biometric authentication system.

However, Google initially blamed “enhanced security algorithms” for the perceived sluggishness, which suggested that a fix or improvement may not be forthcoming. This quiet update, along with Verizon’s clarification, suggests that there was something to be done about it after all.

While they’ve been generally well received (including by us), the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro haven’t been without their issues since launch. Besides the aforementioned fingerprint sensor issue, there’s also a display flicker problem when the phone is in a powered down state.

Google has already acknowledged that latter issue, and has promised to fix it with a software update in December.

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