Apple claims iPhone Face ID has better security than Touch ID
Apple announced the new iPhone Face ID system, which replaces Touch ID in favor of facial recognition and may offer 20 times fewer false positives than fingerprint scanning.
With the announcement of the premium Apple iPhone X, the company left behind what it called the “gold standard” of smartphone security in Touch ID to focus on facial recognition with Face ID.
Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Apple, said during the iPhone event in Cupertino, Calif., that the iPhone Face ID system was built on a new system called TrueDepth. This system combines a traditional camera, an infrared camera, a depth sensor and a dot projector — which projects 30,000 infrared dots onto the user’s face — to create a “mathematical model of your face.”
This model is then run through the Neural Engine — a part of the new A11 Bionic system-on-a-chip — to compare the new scan against past models. The system will be able to learn over time to adapt as a person’s appearance changes with new hairstyles, facial hair, glasses, etc. All Face ID data will be stored in the Secure Enclave on the user’s device and not transmitted to the cloud.
According to Schiller, the chance of random person being able to unlock another device with the Touch ID fingerprint scanner was 1 in 50,000, but the iPhone Face ID should have a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of a false positive — a 20 times improvement. Schiller did note this likelihood would be higher if people share DNA, but claimed it should be able to tell the difference between a user and their “an evil twin.”
The iPhone Face ID security system was tested against realistic masks designed by Hollywood special effects teams, Schiller said, and was not fooled. And, iPhone Face ID unlock requires the user’s attention and will not work if the user is looking away or has his or her eyes closed. The Face ID security feature will be available exclusively on the iPhone X premium model and not for forthcoming iPhone 8.