Massive security hole: Google Pixel 4 Face Unlock works if eyes are shut

Google Pixel 4
Google’s Pixel 4 “Face Unlock” feature unlocks the phone even if the user is asleep.

Chris Fox for BBC News:

Google has confirmed the Pixel 4 smartphone’s Face Unlock system can allow access to a person’s device even if they have their eyes closed.

One security expert said it was a significant problem that could allow unauthorised access to the device. By comparison, Apple’s Face ID system checks the user is “alert” and looking at the phone before unlocking.

Google said in a statement: “Pixel 4 Face Unlock meets the security requirements as a strong biometric.”

MacDailyNews Take: “And water is dry, up is down, and black is white,” Google added.

On Tuesday, BBC News tested the Face Unlock feature on the new Pixel 4.

“If someone can unlock your phone while you’re asleep, it’s a big security problem,” said cyber-security expert Graham Cluley. “Someone unauthorised – a child or partner? – could unlock the phone without your permission by putting it in front of your face while you’re asleep,” he told BBC News.

“I wouldn’t trust it to secure the private conversations and data on my phone.”

MacDailyNews Take: As with the smartphone, the tablet, the smartwatch, contactless payments, and myriad other innovations, Apple showed Google how to do facial recognition with the launch of Face ID over two years ago with the iPhone X. All Google has to do was copy Apple for the umpteenth time.

As with the smartphone, the tablet, the smartwatch, contactless payments, and myriad other innovations, Google still can’t get facial recognition right.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “JayinDC” for the heads up.]


  1. Why do all these people down play it saying a family member could gain access to your phone.

    Let’s talk reality, gang banger sees you have this new phone, plays knock out game on your noggin, grabs phone, Unlocks it with your comatose face, and can now do whatever he wants at that point.

  2. That’s not a bug. That’s a feature for tired or not fully awake Pixel 4 users. Just put it in front of your face without opening your eyes to unlock it. Most thieves wouldn’t even be aware a person could do this. Now, that’s what I call innovation. No wonder Apple is always said to be falling behind every other tech company and why Android smartphones dominate global sales over the iPhone by such a huge amount.


    It’s like when Curly of the 3 Stooges paints his eyelids with eyeballs and fools people into thinking he’s wide awake. That’s pretty slick.

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