Google Pixel 6 is getting an under-screen fingerprint reader

Google is once again looking to ditch the rear mounted fingerprint scanner, but not in favour of Face ID this time

Google Pixel 5
(Image credit: Google)

The Android 12 Developer Preview 2 is the gift that keeps on giving, with tidbits in the code tipping us off as to possible features coming to Android 12 as well as future Google Pixel phones. The latest discovery is an interesting one, suggesting that Google is once again dropping the rear mounted fingerprint reader; but rather than face ID, the Google Pixel 6 could be set to get an under display fingerprint scanner instead.

Pixel phones have sported the fingerprint scanner on the rear of the device since the very first Google Pixel debuted in 2016. After the Google Pixel 3a, the feature was dropped in favour of face recognition with the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. The lack of a fingerprint scanner on the devices means that any apps with support fingerprint unlocking have to rely on pin codes instead, which is a minor but very annoying inconvenience. 

The fingerprint scanner made a comeback with the Google Pixel 4a and Google Pixel 5, with Google seemingly having learned its lesson, but XDA Developers reports that the Android 12 Developer Preview 2 code is hinting at an under display fingerprint scanner for upcoming Pixel devices, like the anticipated Google Pixel 6.   

While the first Android 12 Developer Preview made mention of under display fingerprint scanners, the outlet wrote it off as generic support for the feature on across Android devices, but references in the second iteration point to support for Pixel phones specifically, although there's no hint as to whether Google will opt for an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor which we've seen in the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, or the less costly optical fingerprint scanners.

Given that Google's Pixel smartphones are less high-end and more mid-tier devices, we'd put our money on the latter, so it can keep costs down while keeping the chassis sleek and slinky. 

If you want to delve into what other features Google has in store for future Android OS updates, check out our roundup of the top 12 things we're looking to from the Android 12 beta.  


Shabana Arif

Shabana worked at as News Editor covering tech and gaming, and has been writing about video games for almost a decade (and playing them since forever). She's had bylines at major gaming sites during her freelance career before settling down here at T3, and has podcasts, streaming, and video content under her belt to boot. Outside of work, she also plays video games and should really think about expanding her hobbies. If you have any tech or gaming tips, shoot over an email or DM her on social media.