Pixel 8’s Advanced Face Unlock: A Game-Changer in Smartphone Security

Face Unlock technology has been a staple feature in smartphones for years, but Google’s Pixel 8 series has taken it to the next level. The recent upgrade in the Pixel 8’s Face Unlock feature is not just about convenience but also about enhancing security.

Key Highlights:

  • Pixel 8’s Face Unlock is compatible with banking apps and Google Pay.
  • Unlike the Pixel 7, the Pixel 8’s Face Unlock meets the highest Android biometric class.
  • Google credits machine learning advancements for the improved Face Unlock.
  • Pixel 8 achieves Class 3 biometric security without additional dedicated hardware.
  • The Biometric Security Program ensures adherence to Google’s criteria and testing requirements.

The Evolution of Face Unlock in Pixel:

When Google unveiled the Pixel 8 series, much emphasis was placed on the AI-powered features. However, a significant improvement that came to light post-keynote was the enhanced Face Unlock. The Pixel 8’s Face Unlock now works seamlessly with banking apps and Google Pay. This is a notable upgrade from the Pixel 7, where Face Unlock was limited to just unlocking the device.

The Role of Machine Learning:

The question arises: How did Google achieve this advanced Face Unlock without adding more hardware? The answer lies in Google’s new Tensor G3 chip and the machine learning advancements it brings. Although Google hasn’t detailed these advancements, the fact that they’ve enhanced biometric authentication without additional hardware is a testament to their technological prowess.

Understanding Biometric Security:

Biometric sensors, like Face Unlock, aim to make device access more convenient. However, there’s always a trade-off between convenience and security. Android classifies biometric sensors based on their strength, with Class 1 being the weakest and Class 3 being the strongest. The Pixel 7’s Face Unlock was a Class 1 biometric, limiting its use to just unlocking the device. In contrast, the Pixel 8’s Face Unlock is a Class 3 biometric, allowing it to be used for banking app sign-ins and contactless payments.

Pixel 8’s Distinction:

While the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro aren’t the first from Google to feature a Class 3 Face Unlock, they are unique in achieving this without dedicated hardware. For comparison, the Pixel 4 required multiple components, including two IR cameras and a dot projector, to achieve Class 3 Face Unlock. This hardware requirement led to a larger top bezel. The Pixel 8, however, offers both advanced Face Unlock and a sleek design.

Trustworthiness of Pixel 8’s Face Unlock:

There’s been debate about various aspects of the Pixel 8, but the security of its Face Unlock isn’t just based on Google’s word. The metrics for Class 3 biometric classification are well-defined and tested as part of the Android certification process. The Biometric Security Program ensures that OEMs adhere to Google’s criteria and testing requirements. This program mandates the submission of a Biometric Compliance Report, ensuring that devices meet the set standards.


The Pixel 8’s Face Unlock upgrade signifies a major leap in smartphone security. By achieving Class 3 biometric classification without additional hardware, Google has set a new standard in the industry. This advancement, backed by rigorous testing and certification, ensures that users can trust the Pixel 8’s Face Unlock for both convenience and security.