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Google’s Pixel 6 fingerprint scanner breaks when the battery dies

Published Nov 11th, 2021 7:01PM EST
Pixel 6 problems
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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When it comes to smartphones, Google can never quite seem to get out of its own way. Between the Nexus and Pixel lines, Google has long held its own in a competitive market. Unfortunately, hardware issues are part and parcel of virtually every new phone the company releases. Even the Pixel 6 wasn’t spared, as we’ve learned in recent days that the fingerprint scanner is slower than previous versions. But the problems with the Pixel 6 fingerprint scanner don’t end there.

Pixel 6 fingerprint scanner problems continue

This week, Pixel 6 owners in a Reddit thread on the Google Pixel subreddit (via Android Police) began complaining about a seriously bizarre issue. According to the original poster, the fingerprint scanner on their Pixel 6 Pro stopped responding to input after the phone ran out of battery. They charged up their Pixel 6 Pro, but when it finally powered back on, the icon for the scanner stopped showing up. Suddenly, the only way to unlock the Pixel 6 Pro was with a PIN code.

“Going into settings, I noticed that the fingerprint profile was no longer there,” the original poster explained in the same thread. “Tried setting it up, and it goes through capturing the fingerprint but once it finishes it shows the below message: ‘Enrollment was not completed Fingerprint enrollment didn’t work. Try again or use a different finger.’ Tried all of that, same. Tried my wife’s finger, same. Installed the fingerprint calibration from Google, same.”

What to do if you run into this problem

Within hours, other Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro owners started chiming in too, and they all had the same problem. Even more annoyingly, Pixel 6 owners have only discovered one reliable solution for now. If you let your Pixel 6 die and the fingerprint scanner deactivates, you’ll need to perform a factory reset. That means you’ll lose everything on your phone, so back up your data first.

Here’s how to perform a factory reset on a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro, in case you can’t wait for a fix:

  1. Go to the Settings app on your phone.
  2. Scroll down to System and then choose Advanced.
  3. Now tap on Reset options and then Erase all data (factory reset).
  4. After confirming that you want to wipe your Pixel, tap Erase all data.

It’s unclear why this is happening or how widespread the problem is, but it does appear to be a software bug. At least one Redditor claimed that they couldn’t even duplicate the issue after performing a factory reset. The bug has made its way on to Google’s Issue Tracker, so we can hope that an official solution is in the works. In the meantime, keep that Pixel 6 charged.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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