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Pixel 4's Face Unlock will work even if you're dead, and Google says a patch is months away

The phone's biometric security system currently allows access even if you're unconscious.


Even a sleeping face can unlock Google's Pixel 4.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Google's Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL face unlock is one of its major security features, but BBC News discovered a glaring issue -- the biometric system gives access to the phone even if the owner's eyes are closed. The company promised on Monday to fix the problem with a patch. 

Read more: Here's how the Pixel 4's face unlock compared to the iPhone 11's Face ID when we tested both in four typical scenarios.

This means your kid, partner or even a kidnapper could unlock your Pixel 4 while you're sleeping or unconscious, our sister site ZDNet noted. In contrast, Apple's Face ID makes sure you're alert before your iPhone will unlock.

Even though leaked images of the phone included the setting "Require eyes to be open," the BBC said it wasn't available on review units. Google reportedly told the broadcaster the feature wouldn't be available for the Pixel 4's Oct. 24 launch, but said in a statement that it's on the way.

"We've been working on an option for users to require their eyes to be open to unlock the phone, which will be delivered in a software update in the coming months," a company spokesperson wrote in an email to CNET.

Now playing: Watch this: The Pixel 4 is losing a lifelong fan

The search giant suggested that Pixel 4 owners who are concerned about their phone's security in the meantime can activate a feature "that requires a PIN, pattern or password for the next unlock."

Google is the second major phone maker to have problems with its biometric security in recent weeks. Samsung confirmed Thursday that it's working on a fix for a bug that lets people bypass the fingerprint sensor authentication on Galaxy S10 devices.

First published at Oct. 18, 4:32 a.m. PT.
Updated at Oct. 21, 3:12 a.m. PT: Adds Google's statement about a patch.