Google looks set to restore facial recognition for the Pixel 6, and there could be a big-screen Pixel 6 XL on the way. .
The news comes by way of XDA’s Mishaal Rahman on Twitter, who has dug into the settings of the recent Developer Preview of the Android 12 OS and found signs that point to Google diversifying the ways you can unlock its phones.
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The code directly references a way to “unlock your phone securely with your face and fingerprint”. So it does seem plausible that Google is planning on supporting facial authentication as well as an under-display fingerprint sensor in the Pixel 6.
So the Settings app is preparing to support devices with both facial auth and fingerprint scanners. Not much else on this, so I wouldn't read too much into it yet. pic.twitter.com/xzPWd5cV2mFebruary 18, 2021
Google has included facial recognition in its phones before; the Pixel 4 offered the ability to unlock your phone just by glancing at it, but the tech was absent from the Pixel 5. It makes sense that Google would reintroduce the feature now as it’s become an expected addition of a flagship phone.
The Pixel 5 can be unlocked with a fingerprint, but the sensor is placed on the rear, which felt rather outdated even at launch. The Pixel 6 upgrading to a more modern under-display fingerprint sensor would be a much-appreciated change.
Google Pixel 6 XL coming?
Information about these additional authentication options wasn’t the only thing gleaned from the Android 12 Developer Preview.
Mishaal Rahman also revealed that by enabling the ‘Silky home’ functionality, the system settings UI is tweaked to be more accommodating for one-hand use. This is thanks to key elements like buttons, toggles, and checkboxes being brought much closer to the bottom of the screen.
BIG change: If you enable the "Silky home" feature flag that I previously mentioned, you'll get a DRAMATICALLY changed Settings UI that's MUCH more one-handed friendly. Here are a few screenshots: pic.twitter.com/EcwqnU0LlBFebruary 18, 2021
The UI setting is similar to Samsung’s One UI. which is used on its more substantial phones. This is significant because a UI like this would most commonly be used in phones with larger screens. Adding the pieces together, it’s a strong indicator that a Pixel 6 XL may be on the horizon.
While previously each Pixel generation was released in either a standard or XL version, the Pixel 5 was only available in a single 6-inch model. Though renders of the Pixel 5 XL did materialize, the device itself never did.
However, alongside the UI tweaks above, two internal codenames have been leaked: Raven and Oriole. These are thought to be related to the Pixel 6, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if it turns out one of them is the Pixel 6 XL.
Evidence is certainly mounting to suggest that the Pixel 6 XL will be part of the next flagship phone line up from Google.
With all these rumors and theories flying around about the next model in Google’s Pixel range, we’ve compiled everything we know about the Google Pixel 6 into a handy guide ahead of the phone’s expected release date to help you keep track of them all.
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Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.