Pixel 6a Can’t Seem To Fix Its Fingerprint Scanner Issues

Pixel 6a fingerprint scanner

Chris Burns/SlashGear

Google’s Pixel smartphones seem to have had an uncomfortable relationship with in-screen fingerprint scanners for a while now. Late last year, soon after the release of the Google Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro, users worldwide began to report multiple issues with the fingerprint scanners on these devices. The major complaints surrounding this feature were its overall sluggishness and general lack of accuracy. This resulted in a lot of delayed unlocks and higher-than-average failed unlocks. Needless to say, this issue affected the overall usability of the Pixel 6 lineup.

Strange as it may seem, Google attempted to justify the speed of the fingerprint scanner by suggesting it was a much-needed security feature. Apparently, the delayed unlocks were caused by Google algorithms making it doubly sure that the phones could only be unlocked by the owner of the device. Subsequent software updates for the Pixel 6 series vastly improved the unlocking experience on the devices, making some users question whether Google’s justification for the slowness of the scanner’s scan was really entirely necessary in the first place.

What is even more perplexing is that it would seem that Google has once again launched a phone with a very similar set of issues. The Pixel 6a, the company’s newest Pixel-series smartphone, was delivered to early reviewers with an even more serious version of the bug. If that wasn’t all, the latest version of Android 13 Beta — instead of fixing the problem — simply exchanges one issue for another.

Android 13 Beta update on Pixel 6a slows scan speed

Phone running Android 13 Beta.

DANIEL CONSTANTE/Shutterstock

After updating the Google Pixel 6a to the latest Beta version of Android 13, SlashGear’s Tushar Mehta confirmed that fingerprint recognition has become “painfully slow.” The update also seems to have broken the phone’s ability to add a new fingerprint with constant couldn’t process fingerprint” errors. 

Android 13 beta for #Pixel6a doesn’t outrightly break the fingerprint scanner, but it makes the recognition process painfully slow.

If you try to add a new fingerprint after deleting older ones, you constantly run into an error saying, “Couldn’t process fingerprint.” pic.twitter.com/Lf9wbJBSUb

— Tushar Mehta (@thetymonbay) August 3, 2022

A YouTuber — PurposelyPixel — has run into the same issue and has documented the same in his video. 

As of now, the only way to fix this issue is to roll back the Pixel 6a to a stable version of Android 12. It’s important to note, here, that any beta software from Google comes with a disclaimer that suggests errors may occur, as the system is (by definition) still in testing. There is a good chance that this issue will be dealt with by the time the phone receives the official nod for Android 13 later this year.

Meanwhile, users running the latest security update for the Google Pixel 6a have seen what appears to be a fix for the previously mentioned “even more serious version of the bug” in which potentially any human finger could bypass the lock screen once a single fingerprint is registered and the fingerprint scanner is active. Fingerprint scanning on the Google Pixel 6a right this minute (with stable software) isn’t particularly speedy, but it seems to be accurate.