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Android 13 speeds up sluggish Google Pixel 6 fingerprint scanner for some users

The Google Pixel 6 in Stormy Black, with a thumb on its fingerprint sensor, in front of a white brick background
(Image credit: Future)

A solution to the Google Pixel 6's slow fingerprint sensor could be coming in Android 13. That's right, the saga of the Pixel 6's most annoying feature could finally be coming to a conclusive end.

Reddit user just_lurking_through (opens in new tab) described "a night and day difference" with the unlocking speed of their Pixel 6 Pro after installing the Android 13 public beta. They also posted a GIF (opens in new tab) of their phone unlocking and locking in quick succession as evidence.

Pixel 6 Pro fingerprint scanner"

The reaction to the latest Android 13 beta has been mixed, with some saying there's a clear boost in the speed and reliability of the scanner, while others claim the opposite: "I haven't had a problem with mine since the phone came out. And Android 13 beta 2 has made mine sluggish and a pain to use," one user responded. 

Some commenters said that it looked no faster than their own Pixel 6 handsets after the most recent Android 12 update. And others said that faster animation speeds could be giving the illusion of quicker unlocking. 

But it's promising to see that Google could finally be addressing one of the biggest Pixel 6 problems once and for all, something that came up in our recent analysis of the Google Pixel 6, six months on.

Some users may still not be satisfied with this. The Pixel 6 Pro was tipped pre-launch to have face unlocking, not just a fingerprint sensor, but this didn't end up happening. Except Google is allegedly still weighing up adding the feature in via software update, so perhaps there's still reason for hope.

The Reddit user does complain that despite the faster unlocking, the Android 13 beta is still buggy elsewhere. Likewise, we never recommend users try out beta versions of operating systems like Android on their main devices because of the risks of data loss. 

In the meantime, we've seen Google take a different approach to sort out its slow fingerprint sensor with the just-announced Google Pixel 6a. It's apparently going to use a different fingerprint scanner to the Pixel 6/6 Pro, despite adopting the same under-display location. We'll be able to find out if that's worked at the end of June when the phone actually launches.

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.