The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro fingerprint reader has been the subject of numerous less-than-positive reports in the short time since Google’s new flagships reached consumers. The latest is yet another way in which the reader stops working.
If the phone’s battery goes completely flat, the fingerprint reader can no longer be used to unlock the phone and can’t register new fingerprints either. This is reported by several users on Reddit and is the subject of a bug report in the official Issue Tracker. There is some good news, however, a factory reset seems to fix the issue – not only does it restore the reader back to working order, it seems to prevent further incidents of a flat battery killing the reader.
This means that this is a software bug and should be fixable in a future firmware update. For now it is best to avoid fully discharging the battery, otherwise you will have to back up your data, wipe the phone and restore it. At least the first time.
Previously it came to light that the fingerprint reader is locked to the motherboard, which complicates screen replacements. Also, the reader’s slow operation was excused with “increased security” – however, reports that other people’s fingerprints can unlock a Pixel 6 may cast a bad light on that.