For quite some time now, most Android phones have had the option to be unlocked via your voice and an “OK Google” or “Hey Google” command. Using “Voice Match,” Google has offered up this functionality on its past two Pixel phones, but now its latest doesn’t support it. Oddly, Pixel 3 doesn’t support this feature.

Pointed out first by a Twitter user (via PiunikaWeb), Google’s Pixel 3 devices no longer support Voice Match for unlocking the device. This is further confirmed on Google’s own support pages which clearly state the feature’s removal.

On Pixel 3 phones, you can’t unlock your phone by saying “Ok Google.” Instead, you can use the Google Assistant on your lock screen.

What’s changed here? Simply put, Google has replaced the ability to unlock your phone on the Pixel 3 with “Personal Results” on the lockscreen of Pixel 3 devices. So, rather than having Pixel 3 voice unlock, these devices can display information such as emails, results from Google Calendar, your contacts, reminders, and more. In our testing, Google Play Music can also be used with this.

However, this disables the ability for quite a lot of key functions that were previously available. For example, previous Pixel devices could use Voice Match to fully unlock and take advantage of functions such as phone calls or sending text messages, as well as opening up apps like Spotify.

Voice Match Settings – Pixel 3 XL (Left) vs Pixel 2 XL (Right)

Understandably, this change is frustrating for some users. It’s unclear why Google has made this change as well. One idea that we’ve tossed around is that this is due to changes required for the new Pixel Stand accessory, but at the same time, limiting the device from accessing apps like Spotify actively breaks functionality such as Routines, so this likely isn’t the case.

What seems most likely is that Google has removed this option due to security concerns. On previous devices, a prompt appears explicitly stating that unlocking with Voice Match is “less secure” and can be fooled fairly easily. Given Google’s clear focus on security with these new phones, this seems like the best reason to replace Pixel 3 voice unlock. Notably, other “Smart Lock” options such as Trusted Devices and Trusted Places still work on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.

We’ve reached out to Google for comment on this change and will update the article upon response.

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Ben Schoon

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