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The new Android update is breaking fingerprint sensors

Published Apr 14th, 2017 5:32PM EDT
Google Pixel problems, Android update
Image: Eric Risberg/AP/REX/Shutterstock

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We normally make fun of Android updates because they don’t actually happen — it takes months for changes to roll from Google to consumers, which makes keeping up with security bugs and new features painfully difficult. But today, Android updates are sucking for a completely different reason.

Users on Google’s product forums are complaining that the latest version of Android Nougat, v7.1.2, is bricking the fingerprint sensors on their phones. Affected devices reportedly include the Google-made Pixel and Pixel XL, as well as the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. Those are all devices either made by Google, or by a third-party manufacturer in cooperation with Google. They also all run stock Android, which is why they’re able to be updated before any other device.

According to users, the fingerprint sensor itself doesn’t work, but it’s clearly not a hardware problem: the sensor only stops working after the update, and the gesture control functions of the sensor (which let you swipe over the fingerprint reader to trigger an action) are still working fine. Even deleting fingerprints and trying to add new ones doesn’t work, which rules out some kind of issue with the stock launcher software.

There’s no known fix or public comment from Google at this time, so if you’re on one of these devices and thinking about updating, it’s probably a good idea to hold off. It’s also a handy reminder to keep a good backup of your device up-to-date, especially if you’re the kind of person who installs the latest updates the second they become available.

Chris Mills
Chris Mills News Editor

Chris Mills has been a news editor and writer for over 15 years, starting at Future Publishing, Gawker Media, and then BGR. He studied at McGill University in Quebec, Canada.