Kids (and Twins) May Want to Pass on iPhone X Face ID

Are you worried about the security of Apple’s new Face ID feature on the upcoming iPhone X? Apple this week provided a bit more detail on how its new facial-recognition feature works, and how you can use it to unlock your iPhone.

First of all, it’s highly unlikely that a random person will be able to unlock your iPhone X using Face ID, Apple wrote. The probability of that happening is approximately one in a million, versus 1 in 50,000 for Touch ID.

But, if you happen to have an evil twin — or another shady family member that looks a lot like you — it might be prudent to pass on using Face ID. The same is true for all kids and tweens who get an iPhone X.

“The probability of a false match is different for twins and siblings that look like you as well as among children under the age of 13, because their distinct facial features may not have fully developed,” Apple wrote in a security guide. “If you’re concerned about this, we recommend using a passcode to authenticate.”

iPhone X

For added security, Face ID requires a password to unlock your device after five unsuccessful match attempts.

The feature is designed to “provide robust authentication with a low false match rate, and mitigate both digital and physical spoofing,” Apple wrote. So, you can rest assured that snoops won’t be able to unlock your phone with a photo of you, or a mask of your face.

The system will work indoors, outdoors, and “even in total darkness,” Apple wrote. The iPhone X should also recognize you even if you change your appearance, like if you grow a beard.

With Face ID, you can unlock your iPhone X by simply raising it up to your face or tapping the screen. Once you do that, the phone’s TrueDepth camera “projects and reads over 30,000 infrared dots to form a depth map of the face, along with a 2D infrared image,” Apple wrote.

Whether it actually works consistently remains to be seen. The phone arrives in November, and PCMag will certainly put Face ID through its paces.

The tenth anniversary iPhone X starts at $999 for 64GB capacity or $1,149 for 256GB and comes in space gray or silver. Pre-orders begin on Oct. 27 and the phone launches Nov. 3.


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