Does it matter that Google’s Pixel 4 ‘Face Unlock’ works even if the owner has their eyes closed?

For those who’ve never encountered it, the Pixel’s proprietary Face Unlock works by enrolling a model of the user’s face, which is securely stored on a chip inside the phone.

It’s a rival to Apple Face ID, which appeared two years ago in the iPhone X. Google is so confident with the security this technology offers, it even ditched the fingerprint sensor alternative used on older products.

But a BBC reporter has discovered a potential issue – Face Unlock works when the user has his or her eyes closed, for example, when they’re asleep.

Google doesn’t have to confirm this because it’s already on the Pixel 4’s help pages:

Your phone can also be unlocked by someone else if it’s held up to your face, even if your eyes are closed. Keep your phone in a safe place, like your front pocket or handbag.

To spell it out, the risk here is that someone might get hold of a device and unlock it by holding the screen to the face of its sleeping or unconscious owner.