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Face ID is a
facial recognition system A facial recognition system is a technology capable of matching a human face from a digital image or a Film frame, video frame against a database of faces, typically employed to authenticate users through ID verification services, works by pinpoi ...
designed and developed by
Apple Inc. Apple Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a ...
for the
iPhone {{Infobox information appliance , name = iPhone , logo = , image = , caption = The front face of an iPhone 13 Pro The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are smartphones designed and marketed by Apple Inc. They are the flagship smart ...

iPhone
and
iPad Pro iPad Pro is a premium professional sub-lineup of the iPad iPad is a line of tablet computers designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc., which run the iOS and iPadOS mobile operating systems. The iPad (1st generation), first iPad ...

iPad Pro
. The system allows
biometric authentication Biometrics are body measurements and calculations related to human characteristics. Biometrics authentication Authentication (from ''authentikos'', "real, genuine", from αὐθέντης ''authentes'', "author") is the act of proving an ...

biometric authentication
for unlocking a device, making
payments A payment is the voluntary tender of money or its equivalent or of things of value by one party 300px, '' Hip, Hip, Hurrah!'' (1888) by Peder Severin Krøyer, a painting portraying an artists' party in 19th century Denmark A party is a gathe ...
, accessing sensitive data, providing detailed facial expression tracking for Animoji, as well as six degrees of freedom (6DOF) head-tracking, eye-tracking, and other features. Initially released in November 2017 with the
iPhone X The iPhone X (Roman numeral Roman numerals are a numeral system A numeral system (or system of numeration) is a writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ...

iPhone X
, it has since been updated and introduced to several new iPhone models, and all iPad Pro models. The Face ID hardware consists of a sensor with three modules; a dot projector that projects a grid of small
infrared Infrared (IR), sometimes called infrared light, is electromagnetic radiation (EMR) with wavelengths longer than those of Light, visible light. It is therefore invisible to the human eye. IR is generally understood to encompass wavelengths from ...

infrared
dots onto a user's face, a module called the flood illuminator that shines infrared light at the face, and an infrared camera which takes an infrared picture of the user, reads the resulting pattern and generates a 3D facial map. This map is compared with the registered face using a secure subsystem, and the user is authenticated if the two faces match sufficiently. The system can recognize faces with glasses, clothing, makeup, and facial hair, and adapts to changes in appearance over time. Face ID has sparked a number of debates about security and privacy. Apple claims that Face ID is significantly more advanced than Touch ID. It exhibits significantly fewer false positives. Still, Face ID has shown issues at separating identical twins. Multiple security features largely limit the risk of the system being bypassed using photos or masks, and only one proof-of-concept attempt using detailed scans has succeeded. Debate continues over the lack of legal protections offered by biometric systems as compared to passcode authentication in the United States. Privacy advocates have also expressed concern about third-party app developers' access to "rough maps" of user facial data, despite rigid requirements by Apple of how developers handle facial data. Face ID is unable to recognize users wearing
face masks
face masks
. Apple responded to criticism by offering faster fallback to
passcode A password, sometimes called a passcode, is a memorized secret, typically a string of characters, usually used to confirm a user's identity. Using the terminology of the NIST Digital Identity Guidelines, the secret is memorized by a party called ...

passcode
input, and the option for
Apple Watch Apple Watch is a line of smartwatch A smartwatch is a wearable computer in the form of a watch; modern smartwatches provide a local touchscreen interface for daily use, while an associated smartphone app provides for management and telemetry ...

Apple Watch
users to confirm whether they intended to unlock their iPhone.


History

Apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the most widely grown species in the genus ''Malus''. The tree originated in Central Asia, wher ...
announced Face ID during the unveiling of the
iPhone X The iPhone X (Roman numeral Roman numerals are a numeral system A numeral system (or system of numeration) is a writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ...

iPhone X
on September 12, 2017. The system was presented as the successor to
Touch ID Touch ID is an electronic fingerprint recognition feature designed and released by Apple Inc. Apple Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multipl ...
, Apple's previous
fingerprint A fingerprint is an impression left by the friction ridge The dermis or corium is a layer of skin Skin is the layer of usually soft, flexible outer tissue covering the body of a vertebrate animal, with three main functions: protection, reg ...

fingerprint
-based authentication technology embedded in the home button of the
iPhone 8 The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are smartphone A smartphone is a mobile device that combines cellular and mobile computing functions into one unit. They are distinguished from feature phones by their stronger hardware capabilities and ext ...

iPhone 8
and earlier devices in addition to the second-generation iPhone SE. On September 12, 2018, Apple introduced the iPhone XS and XR with faster neural network processing speeds, providing a significant speed increase to Face ID. On October 30, 2018, Apple introduced the third generation iPad Pro, which brings Face ID to the iPad and allows face recognition in any orientation.
iOS 13 iOS 13 is the iOS version history, thirteenth major release of the iOS mobile operating system developed by Apple Inc. for their iPhone, iPod Touch, and HomePod lines. The successor to iOS 12 on those devices, it was announced at the company's ...
included an upgraded version of Face ID which is up to 30% faster than Face ID on previous versions.


Technology

Face ID's technology is based on
PrimeSense PrimeSense was an State of Israel, Israeli 3D sensing company based in Tel Aviv. PrimeSense had offices in Israel, North America, Japan, Singapore, Korea, China and Taiwan. PrimeSense was bought by Apple Inc. for $360 million on November 24, 2013. ...
's previous work with low-cost
infrared Infrared (IR), sometimes called infrared light, is electromagnetic radiation (EMR) with wavelengths longer than those of Light, visible light. It is therefore invisible to the human eye. IR is generally understood to encompass wavelengths from ...

infrared
depth perception that was the basis of the
Kinect Kinect is a line of motion sensing Motion detection is the process of detecting a change in the position of an object relative to its surroundings or a change in the surroundings relative to an object. It can be achieved by either Mechanical sy ...
motion sensor for the
Xbox Xbox is a video gaming brand created and owned by Microsoft. The brand consists of five video game consoles, as well as application software, applications (games), streaming media, streaming services, an online service by the name of Xbox netw ...

Xbox
console line from Microsoft; Apple had acquired PrimeSense in 2013 after Microsoft started to wane on the use of Kinect. Face ID is based on a facial recognition sensor that consists of two parts: a dot projector module that projects more than 30,000
infrared Infrared (IR), sometimes called infrared light, is electromagnetic radiation (EMR) with wavelengths longer than those of Light, visible light. It is therefore invisible to the human eye. IR is generally understood to encompass wavelengths from ...

infrared
dots onto the user's face, and an
infrared camera A thermographic camera (also called an infrared camera or thermal imaging camera or thermal imager) is a device that creates an image using infrared radiation Infrared (IR), sometimes called infrared light, is electromagnetic radiation In ...

infrared camera
module that reads the pattern. The pattern is encrypted and sent to a local " Secure Enclave" in the device's
CPU A central processing unit (CPU), also called a central processor, main processor or just processor, is the electronic circuit File:PExdcr01CJC.jpg, 200px, A circuit built on a printed circuit board (PCB). An electronic circuit is composed of ...

CPU
to confirm a match with the registered face. The stored facial data is a mathematical representation of key details of the face, and it is inaccessible to Apple or other parties. To avoid involuntary authentication, the system requires the user to open their eyes and look at the device to attempt a match, although this can be disabled through an accessibility setting. Face ID is temporarily disabled and the user's passcode is required after 5 unsuccessful scans, 48 hours of inactivity, restarting the device, or if two of the device's both side buttons are held briefly. Apple claimed the probability of someone else unlocking a phone with Face ID is 1 in 1,000,000 as opposed to Touch ID at 1 in 50,000. During initial setup, the user's face is scanned twice from a number of angles to create a complete reference map. As the system is used, it learns about typical variations in a user's appearance, and will adjust its registered face data to match aging, facial hair growth, and other changes using the Neural Engine. The system will recognize a face wearing hats, scarves, glasses, most sunglasses, facial hair or makeup. It also works in the dark by invisibly illuminating the whole face with a dedicated infrared flash module. Authentication with Face ID is used to enable a number of iOS features, including unlocking the phone automatically on wake, making payments with
Apple Pay Apple Pay is a mobile payment Mobile payment (also referred to as mobile money, mobile money transfer, and mobile wallet) generally refer to payment services operated under financial regulation and performed from or via a mobile device. Instea ...
, and viewing saved passwords. Apps by Apple or third-party developers can protect sensitive data with a system framework; the device will verify the user's identity and return success or failure without sharing face data with the app. Additionally, Face ID can be used without authentication to track over 50 aspects of a user's facial expression and positioning, which can be used to create live effects such as Animoji or camera filters. In recent years, third party developers have developed more use cases for FaceID such as e.g. Eyeware Beam, an iOS app that provides a reliable and precise, multi-purpose head and eye-tracking tool. It is used to enable control of the camera angle through head motion in games and eye-tracking to share attention with audience in streams, but also augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and biometric research.


Devices with Face ID

*
iPhone X The iPhone X (Roman numeral Roman numerals are a numeral system A numeral system (or system of numeration) is a writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ...

iPhone X
*
iPhone XR The iPhone XR (stylized and marketed as iPhone Xʀ; Roman numeral Roman numerals are a that originated in and remained the usual way of writing numbers throughout Europe well into the . Numbers in this system are represented by combinat ...
*
iPhone XS The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max (stylized and marketed as iPhone and iPhone Max; Roman numerals, Roman numeral "X" pronounced "ten") are smartphones designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc. They are the List of iOS devices, twelfth-gen ...

iPhone XS
* iPhone XS Max *
iPhone 11 The iPhone 11 is a smartphone A smartphone is a portable device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations auto ...
*
iPhone 11 Pro The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are smartphones designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc. They are the List of iOS devices, 13th-generation flagship iPhones, succeeding the iPhone XS, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, respectively. Ap ...
*
iPhone 11 Pro Max The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are smartphone A smartphone is a mobile device that combines cellular and mobile computing functions into one unit. They are distinguished from feature phones by their stronger hardware capabili ...

iPhone 11 Pro Max
* iPhone 12 Mini *
iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini (stylized and marketed as iPhone 12 mini) are a range of smartphone A smartphone is a portable device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be prog ...
*
iPhone 12 Pro The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are smartphone A smartphone is a portable device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic ...
*
iPhone 12 Pro Max {{Infobox information appliance , name = iPhone , logo = , image = , caption = The front face of an iPhone 13 Pro The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are smartphones designed and marketed by Apple Inc. They are the flagship smart ...

iPhone 12 Pro Max
* iPhone 13 Mini *
iPhone 13 The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini (stylized as iPhone 13 mini) are smartphones designed, developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Inc. They are the fifteenth generation of IPhone, iPhones (succeeding the IPhone 12, iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini). The ...
*
iPhone 13 Pro The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are smartphones designed and marketed by Apple Inc. They are the flagship smartphones in the List of iOS devices, fifteenth generation of the iPhone, succeeding the iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone ...

iPhone 13 Pro
*
iPhone 13 Pro Max The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are smartphones designed and marketed by Apple Inc. They are the flagship smartphones in the List of iOS devices, fifteenth generation of the iPhone, succeeding the iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone ...

iPhone 13 Pro Max
*
iPad Pro (3rd generation) The third generation of iPad Pro is a line of Tablet computer, tablet computers designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc., Apple Inc. Two models, with a 12.9 inch or 11 inch screen, were both announced on October 30, 2018, and were ...
* iPad Pro (4th generation) * iPad Pro (5th generation)


Safety

Face ID uses an infrared flood illuminator and dot projector, though Apple insists that the output is low enough that it will cause no harm to the eyes or skin, and meets 'international safety standards'. They do not, however, recommend the sensor be repaired by third parties, citing security concerns. There is also an inbuilt feature to deactivate Face ID should unauthorized components be found.


Issues


Twins and close relatives

Inconsistent results have been shown when testing Face ID on
identical twin Twins are two offspring produced by the same pregnancy.MedicineNet > Definition of TwinLast Editorial Review: 19 June 2000 Twins can be either ''monozygotic'' ('identical'), meaning that they develop from one zygote, which splits and forms two em ...
s, with some tests showing the system managing to separate the two, while other tests have failed. The system has additionally been fooled by close relatives. Apple states that the probability of a false match is different for twins and siblings, as well as children under 13 years of age, as "their distinct facial features may not have fully developed".


Law enforcement access

Face ID has raised concerns regarding the possibility of law enforcement accessing an individual's phone by pointing the device at the user's face. United States Senator
Al Franken Alan Stuart Franken (born May 21, 1951) is an American comedian, politician, media personality, and author who served as a United States senator The United States Senate is the Upper house, upper chamber of the United States Congress, w ...

Al Franken
asked Apple to provide more information on the security and privacy of Face ID a day after the announcement, with Apple responding by highlighting the recent publication of a security white paper and knowledge base detailing answers. ''
The Verge ''The Verge'' is an American technology blog A blog (a truncation In mathematics and computer science, truncation is limiting the number of numerical digit, digits right of the decimal point. Truncation and floor function Truncation o ...
'' noted that courts in the United States have granted different Fifth Amendment rights in the United States Constitution to biometric unlocking systems as opposed to keycodes. Keycodes are considered "testimonial" evidence based on the contents of users' thoughts, whereas fingerprints are considered physical evidence, with some suspects having been ordered to unlock their phones via fingerprint.


Infiltration

Many people have attempted to fool Face ID with sophisticated masks, though most have failed. In November 2017, Vietnamese security firm
Bkav Bkav is a Vietnam, Vietnamese security software and electronics company based in Hanoi. It has grown to be the most popular anti-virus software provider in Vietnam, capturing over 70% of the domestic market. The name of the company was based on "H ...
announced in a blog post that it had created a $150 mask that successfully unlocked Face ID, but ''
WIRED ''Wired'' (stylized as ''WIRED'') is a monthly American magazine, published in print and online magazine, online editions, that focuses on how emerging technologies affect culture, the economy, and politics. Owned by Condé Nast, it is headquar ...
'' noted that Bkav's technique was more of a "proof-of-concept" rather than active exploitation risk, with the technique requiring a detailed measurement or digital scan of the iPhone owner's face, putting the real risk of danger only to targets of espionage and world leaders.


Third-party developers

If the user explicitly grants a third-party app permission to use the camera, the app can also access basic facial expression and positioning data from Face ID for features such as precise selfie filters such as those seen in
Snapchat Snapchat is an American multimedia Multimedia is a form of communication that combines different content forms such as text Text may refer to: Written word * Text (literary theory) Text may refer t ...
, or game characters mirroring real-world user facial expressions. The data accessible to third parties is not sufficient to unlock a device or even identify a user, and Apple prohibits developers from selling the data to others, creating profiles on users, or using the data for advertising. The
American Civil Liberties Union The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for ...
and the
Center for Democracy and Technology Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(3) A 501(c)(3) organization is a corporation, trust, unincorporated association, or other type of organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of Ti ...
raised privacy questions about Apple's enforcement of the privacy restrictions connected to third-party access, with Apple maintaining that its App Store review processes were effective safeguards. Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the ACLU, has stated that the overall idea of letting developers access sensitive facial information was still not satisfactorily handled, with Stanley telling ''
Reuters Reuters (, ) is an international news organisation owned by Thomson Reuters. It employs around 2,500 journalists and 600 photojournalists in about 200 locations worldwide. Reuters is one of the largest news agencies in the world. The agency w ...
'' that "the privacy issues around of the use of very sophisticated facial recognition technology for unlocking the phone have been overblown. The real privacy issues have to do with the access by third-party developers".


Use with face masks

During the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing global pandemic A pandemic (from , , "all" and , , "local people" the 'crowd') is an of an that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple or worldwide, affecting a substantial numbe ...

COVID-19 pandemic
, face masks were employed as a public and personal health control measure against the spread of
SARS-CoV-2 Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‑CoV‑2) is the coronavirus Coronaviruses are a group of related that cause diseases in s and s. In humans and birds, they cause s that can range from mild to lethal. Mild illnes ...

SARS-CoV-2
. The Face ID at the time was incompatible with face masks, with Apple stating "Face ID is designed to work with your eyes, nose and mouth visible." With the release of iOS 13.5, Apple added a feature that automatically brought up the passcode screen if it detected that the user was wearing a mask. Apple was criticized for not addressing these issues with the release of the
iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini (stylized and marketed as iPhone 12 mini) are a range of smartphone A smartphone is a portable device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be prog ...
, but was praised for the lack of inclusion of Face ID in favor of Touch ID integration into the power button on the fourth-generation iPad Air. In April 2021, Apple released iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4 with an option to allow
Apple Watch Apple Watch is a line of smartwatch A smartwatch is a wearable computer in the form of a watch; modern smartwatches provide a local touchscreen interface for daily use, while an associated smartphone app provides for management and telemetry ...

Apple Watch
to act as a backup if Face ID fails due to face masks.


See also

*
Touch ID Touch ID is an electronic fingerprint recognition feature designed and released by Apple Inc. Apple Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multipl ...
*
Structured-light 3D scanner A structured-light 3D scanner is a 3D scanning device for measuring the three-dimensional shape of an object using projected light patterns and a camera A camera is an optical instrument used to capture an image An SAR radar imaging ...


References


External links


Official website
{{Apple Computer-related introductions in 2017 Facial recognition software IOS Authentication methods