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This Pixel 7 and Pixel 6 fingerprint fix seems weird, but people say it works

Published May 24th, 2023 12:18PM EDT
Google Pixel 7 Pro Front
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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If you’re one of the unlucky Pixel phone owners who has run into fingerprint sensor issues when unlocking your phone, you should know there’s a way to fix it. If this fingerprint-scanning technique works, you won’t have to send your Pixel 7 or Pixel 6 out to be repaired. And you won’t have to deal with the PIN as often. But the fix might seem somewhat odd to some people, as it involves your nose. Your hair might also work.

No, seriously… don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

A Reddit user discovered recently that rubbing a clean hand on the side of one’s nose will pick up enough oil to make the Pixel fingerprint sensor work.

Apparently, hands that are too dry or clean might not work well with some under-display fingerprint sensors on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 6. When a scan fails, you’ll have to enter the PIN code manually, which definitely gets annoying. It can also be a security issue if anyone is watching.

Redditor No-Fondant-8757 found the bizarre solution, which seems to be quite reliable:

I’ve had issues with the fingerprint reader, and it’s always after swimming, showering, or just washing my hands. The reader never works if my fingers are very clean and dry, and it always goes to the screenlock PIN. I’ve discovered that just wiping my finger on the outside of my nose is enough to allow the fingerprint to be read.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems my finger has to have enough oil or something on it to get the reader to recognize the print. I briefly thought of re-registering some or all of the fingerprints with clean and dry hands, but it’s much easier to just touch the outside of my nose if the print isn’t recognized. I suppose other places might work, but I know this one does.

The problem with this approach might be obvious, considering what we’ve been through in the past few years. One of the lessons we learned during the pandemic is to avoid touching our faces with dirty hands so we don’t risk getting COVID-19. Another lesson is to wash our hands more frequently.

The fingerprint reader solution here involves touching your face quite often. Then again, you might only have to do it when your hands are too clean. Whatever you do, you shouldn’t stop washing your hands solely to fix the Pixel 7 or Pixel 6 fingerprint issue.

Running your hand through your hair might be a better compromise.

I don’t have that problem as an iPhone user because Face ID is miles better than fingerprint sensors, and it fails less often. “It just works,” as Apple has been known to say. What I’m getting at is that Google has to find a way to fix this fingerprint-sensing problem on Pixel phones because the company’s top rival has moved on.

Hopefully, the Pixel 8 series will feature an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor rather than an optical one. Such an upgrade might prevent future fingerprint-scanning issues. Samsung’s brand-new OLED screen tech should also work great on future Pixel phones.

As for the Pixel Fold that’s coming out soon, you’ll find its fingerprint sensor on the side button. Therefore, it should be more reliable than in-display fingerprint readers.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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