On Tuesday, September 12, Apple announced its feature-packed, premium-priced, high-end smartphone – the iPhone X. The iPhone X has many features like the all-glass display, super-fast charging, and animated emoticons. There is, however, one feature that Apple is extremely proud of, its new security unlocking feature – Face ID.
This feature has allowed the company to do away with the home button on the device. Users now simply have to look at the front camera to activate or awaken the device.
Apple said facial information is protected and kept secure. The processing is done entirely on the device and not in the cloud in an effort to protect users’ privacy.
The way this works is that the front-facing cameras and sensors map your face, and then match it with the pre-saved facial data of the owner. The device uses AI so that it can slowly detect the owner even with glasses, a beard, or a hat.
Face ID uses a combination of light projectors and sensors to take several images of your facial features. Collectively called the “True Depth camera system,” Apple says these technologies work together to build a detailed depth map of your face to recognize you in an instant.
It uses infrared (IR) light to illuminate your face while capturing the images, to work day or night, outside or indoors. IR spans wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation just beyond the visible spectrum, so iPhone X’s display won’t dazzle you in the dark.
Here are some common concerns about the Face ID technology:
1. Whether someone can unlock the phone when the user is asleep.
The good news is, Face ID requires attention to work. The eyes need to be open and directed towards the front camera lens.
2. Will Face ID work if the user is wearing a hat, scarf, sunglasses or any facial accessory?
As mentioned above, AI incorporation to the feature helps improve its efficiency gradually. Here’s how Apple executive Craig Federighi explains it: “If you’re a surgeon or someone who wears a garment that covers your face, it’s not going to work. But if you’re wearing a helmet or scarf, it works quite well.”
3. Does Apple store facial data?
The facial data is solely stored on the device and not on any cloud system. Thus, your data is used only for unlocking your device and not used for any other purpose.
4. Can the iPhone X store many faces to unlock the phone?
The iPhone X can only store one face at a time. Also, the device does not have any rewrite or overwrite feature for the purpose. So the first faced scanned is the face that the device will open to.