Last year Google did an Apple and removed the fingerprint sensor from their flagship phones, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, instead opting for a Face Unlock that used their radar cameras at the top of the display. Now it seems it is broken for many users.

There are multiple reports on Reddit and Google’s own support forums that a recent update has broken Face Unlock, making it unreliable and non-functional on most attempts. When attempting to unlock the phone displays a message at the bottom of the display telling the users to “Clean the top of your screen, including the black bar”.

Face Unlock will still work a small percentage of the time for some it is fully broken at all times for others. A reboot will solve the issue for some users but not all and re-enrolling the face will often not work at all either — in 2020 with masks either compulsory or encouraged (depending on where you live) a face unlock option is next to useless anyway.

Google have commented that the issue has been fixed and that fix would roll out with the November update but many users are still experiencing these issues even after updating their devices. We are yet to experience this on the Ausdroid Pixel 4 phones but it is certainly out in the wild given the volume of reports.

Hopefully Google can figure out this bug quickly as it would be annoying to have the only biometric sensor on a phone not functional — maybe they should have included a fingerprint sensor as well? Let us know in the comments below if you are experiencing this issue and if there is any way you have found to circumvent the bug.

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I had this problem and nothing could fix it. The only way to fix is a factory reset.


no wonder none of the major banks support face id on pixel 4.\
Never Pixel phones in my life again. they are dead with end of nexus line


Amex supports it. Though they’re not big 4. This is likely not going to be a problem given Pixel 4a/5 use fingerprint. Once developers update their apps it’ll support both. They probably didn’t update their apps given nobody really bought Pixel 4.


I’d call CommBank a major bank but I can’t wait to get away from them.

Last edited 3 years ago by Darren

Commbank supports face ID.

No issues where with my face unlock. Works awesome, especially when it’s sitting on its wireless charger.