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Apple's Face ID Explained
I simply hate long passwords! They are ugly and hard to remember. And yet, security experts tell us that we should have them that way. Not only that, but they also want us to replace them on a regular basis!
Fortunately, Apple is onto something. And onto something big! They have invented a technology that will let you log into your iPhone by using your... face!
Apple will soon launch its FaceID technology, which is supposed to replace TouchID. For those of you who didn't know about it, TouchID uses a capacitive sensor to take high resolution screenshots of your fingerprints. Then, it analyzes the data and maps out all their details.
I simply love TouchID's ability of storing multiple fingerprints! Not to mention that it can read fingerprints regardless of your finger's orientation. It wasn't an easy task for Apple's team, though.
Back in the day, Steve Jobs realized that sliding a virtual button, and then inputting a password to unlock the iPhone takes too much time. He was a true visionary, so he knew that smartphones would become a key element of our lives, and if you'd open them (let's say) 100 times each day, and spend 5-10 seconds to slide and unlock them each and every time, you'd be wasting dozens of minutes per day doing this boring task.
That's exactly why Steve Jobs wanted to invent TouchID, the authentication system that utilizes the user's fingerprint to unlock the phone. By 2009, the Apple engineers already had a working prototype, and the acquisition of a few technology / cybersecurity companies has accelerated the process.
But what about Face ID? Let's see how it works.
FaceID will replace TouchID in the new iPhone. It uses a TrueDepth camera, which is able to scan the 3D details of your face using over 30,000 sensors.
From now on, unlocking your iPhone will only be a matter of looking at its screen. It doesn't get easier than that! And the good news is that your face coordinates are only stored locally, so nobody will be able to steal your face-related data - unless they somehow manage to steal your phone and break into it.
Apple needed a powerful CPU to do these things in real time, so it has designed the fast A11 Bionic processor with this task in mind. It's early to draw conclusions, but it looks like your iPhone X will be able to recognize your face even if you wear glasses.
The face recognition system makes use of an Infrared camera which ensures that a real person (and not a picture of that person) is looking at the phone. And to make sure it's got the right person, FaceID will only unlock your iPhone when you are looking at the device with your eyes open. Yes, your wife won't be able to unlock your phone by pointing it towards your face, while you are sleeping ;)
FaceID will also keep the screen on while you are looking at it. Good bye black screens! Samsung has implemented a similar technology several years ago, and I am glad to see that Apple has finally done something about it.
The company states that FaceID will be able to unlock your phone extremely fast, in less than 4-5 milliseconds.
But will FaceID be used to pay for products and services? My guess is that Apple will want us to use it in conjunction with its Apple Pay Cash service. I'm not so sure about this, though.