Got a new Google Pixel 4 and am excited to set up face unlock on it. How can I get that all set up so I can use it immediately?
It’s the digital equivalent of knowing the bouncer at a trendy nightclub; you look at your device and, recognizing your face, it unlocks and is ready to go. Anyone else looks at it and it stubbornly refuses entry because they’re not an insider like you are. Who doesn’t want to be that important? At least, well, to a device you purchase. 🙂
Android has always featured quite a variety of different ways you can opt to unlock your devices, but the Pixel 4 channels you towards using either a PIN or your face. That’s it. No fingerprint sensor in case you’d prefer not having a 3D scan of your face. You can set up a swipe pattern, but it’s a bit convoluted to switch. You can also experiment with “smart lock”, enabling the phone to use geolocation unlocking, voice match or proximity to trusted devices for unlocking too, but they don’t all work quite the same.
In any case, yes, face unlock. Let’s set it up!
To start, I’m going to have to delete my already set up face so I can set it all up from scratch. It’s interesting to read what Google says as I go through this process, so bear with me here…
Open up Settings on your Google Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL and search for ‘face’ to find the right configuration area:
You can see it in the middle of this screen: “Face unlock” under “Security”. A single tap and you’re ready to get started.
Or, if you’re like me, you will be notified you already have it set up:
I’m going to proceed by deleting my face data and settings things up again. If you don’t need to do that, this’ll just be some bonus background info for ya. I tap on “Face unlock” above:
You can see that, unlike the nightclub bouncer, you can specify exactly what the phone can do with your face data in terms of functionality. Want to use it for unlocking your phone and have it immediately resume what you were last doing? Choose “Unlocking your phone” and “Skip lock screen”. Want to also look at your phone to enable app sign-in and payments? Choose “App sign-in & payments”.
To start over, I’m going to need to tap on the grey “Delete face data” button, which brings up this interesting confirmation window:
A tap on “Delete” and it’s all cleared out. Which means now I can show you what you’ll be doing if you’ve never set up face unlock on your Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL!
Instead of what you saw earlier, you’ll get this view of the Face unlock screen:
If you’re guessing that a tap on the grey “Set up face unlock” is your next step, then you’re correct! Tap on it…
Here’s what you’ll see:
If you have really dark sunglasses, you’ll want to take them off. Also notice the disclaimers: Once you set this up, it’ll be able to unlock your phone even if you just glance at it, which might not be what you want. Oh, and as of this moment in time, you can unlock your phone with your eyes closed so someone could hold it up to your face while you’re sleeping to gain access. A problem? You can decide.
To proceed, tap on the blue “Next” button on the lower right. It’ll show you how to hold your phone for set up and scanning:
You can tap on “Start” but in my experience it advances after a few seconds all by itself too.
Either way, soon enough you’ll get the second part of the face scanning tutorial:
Ready? Hair look good? (actually it doesn’t matter because no-one will ever see this encrypted data).
Tap on “Start” and then look at the phone as you slowly angle your face in a spherical space as indicated:
Almost done. You don’t have to look at the camera if you want to instead stare at the scanning circle, by the way. As you can see, it’s smart enough to ignore background clutter or information too; the books behind my head are not a problem, though probably it’d be better to just be standing in front of a blank wall or something.
Once you have tilted and turned your head as indicated, it’ll get all the data it needs for its 3D model and you’ll be here:
Done! Woot! Now, lock your phone then just look at the screen to see what happens.
Pretty cool, eh? Now go have some fun with that Pixel 4 and make sure to wow your friends with face unlock too.
Pro Tip: I’ve been writing about Android since it was named after candy bars and confections. Please check out my extensive Android help area while you’re on the site!