Google might fix its fingerprint scanner woes with the Pixel 9

2024-07-04 12:59


Someone using a pink Google Pixel phone.
It should be less of a farce to unlock the next generation of Google Pixel phones. | Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Google’s upcoming Pixel 9 lineup will reportedly feature a faster, more reliable ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, according to Android Authority. It would replace the optical under-display fingerprint sensor that Google introduced on the Pixel 6 with the newer technology that’s capable of reading even wet or oily fingerprints.

The switch could also address some of the widespread issues that users have experienced when trying to unlock their Pixel devices, with some people saying that light levels and finger dryness can impact the reliability of the previous optical reader. Optical scanners are the oldest method of reading fingerprints. They work by flashing light against the user’s finger and then visually detecting patterns and ridges on the surface — meaning any changes like dirt or blemishes can interfere with the process.

By contrast, ultrasonic sensors read fingerprints with greater accuracy by bouncing ultrasonic pulses off of them, which also spares users from being blinded if they need to unlock their phones at night. According to the reliable leaker Kamila Wojciechowska, the Pixel 9 will use Qualcomm’s 3D Sonic Gen 2 (QFS4008), the same model found on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.

Android Authority says the new ultrasonic fingerprint scanner will be available on all Pixel 9 models except the upcoming Fold 2, which is expected to retain its current power button-based fingerprint sensor. We’ll likely find out more during Google’s Pixel 9 hardware event on August 13th.