Google has pushed out its April software and security updates for the Pixel 2, 3, 3a and 4 phones. For the Pixel 4, this includes a fix that now means the 3D face unlock feature for that phone now gives the option for the user to need to have their eyes open.
Previously, the Pixel 4 and 4 XL were criticised for allowing the biometric authentication to work even if the user’s eyes were closed. The phone uses an advanced 3D face mapping so is technically very secure, but reviewers said that the feature could be abused if you were asleep (or, more morbidly, dead).
The main issue really is that Apple’s Face ID for iPhones and the iPad Pro requires you to have your eyes open and looking at the device in order for it to register, adding a layer of security.
2D facial recognition on phones like the Samsung Galaxy S20 is less secure and is not allowed for biometric authentication. It also works even if your eyes are closed and can be fooled by photos in some instances.
Google appears to have finally added an option for you to require open eyes for unlocking and authentication – it’s not on by default. To turn it on, update your phone’s software and then go to Settings > Security > Face Unlock > Require eyes to be open.