Ever wondered how does Apple Face ID works. Apple first introduced the technology of Face ID for authentication purposes. Since then many smartphone manufacturers started giving Face ID for their devices in the budget range. Hail that notch which took the industry to cut the portion of the screen and play as bezelless display. In this article we will take a closer look of that notch particularly the Face ID and unravel the working of that technology. Will also be looking at some of the downsides of having a Face ID, cause ofcourse noting is safe in this world.
Most of our digital information are stored on Phones and it’s important to protect that information. Face ID is the next big step in that direction. Face ID provides intuitive and secure authentication enabled by the state-of-the-art TrueDepth camera system with advanced technologies to accurately map the geometry of your face.
With a simple glance, Face ID securely unlocks your iPhone X. You can use it to authorize purchases on the Apple Store.
The dot projector embedded in the notch produces over 30,000 invisible rays to create a depth map of your face and also stores an infrared image of your face. Apple’s A11 bionic chip also plays a significant role, it transforms the depth mapping and the infrared image into a mathematical representation and compares that representation to the enrolled facial data.
So what happens if my face changes like if i trim by beard or apply makeup or some crazy stuff, or even if I show half of the face, how does it recognise me?
The answer lies in the fact that it maps your face but does not open until you open it manually using your pin, it then knows you are the authorised personnel and it updates the mathematical representation, so it remebers how your face look under different conditions. It actually keeps learning over time or we can say updating that mathematical representation over time. So it becomes highly accurate.
The mapping of face is a very high dimensional data and needs a lot of computing power to work fairly fast. A part of the A11 Bionic chip’s neural engine — protected within the Secure Enclave, performs this task with an ease. Face ID is designed to work with hats, scarves, glasses, contact lenses, and many sunglasses. Furthermore, it’s designed to work indoors, outdoors, and even in total darkness.
To start using Face ID, you first need to enroll your face. You may do this during the initial set up process, or at a later time by going to Settings > Face ID & Passcode. Face id works best at arms length and very well even when the phone is inclined to certain extent.
Security is important to protect information on our devices. Face ID uses the TrueDepth camera and deep learning for a secure authentication solution. Face ID data – including mathematical representations of your face – is fully encrypted and protected with a key available only to the Secure Enclave.
The probability that a random person in the population could unlock your device is approximately 1 in 1,000,000 which 1 in 50,000 for Touch ID. Face id only takes five unsuccessful attempts to prompt you to enter your passcode.
Face id also looks at your eyes when unlocking the device, so if you’re asleep then for sure nobody will be able to unlock it, unless they wake you up. Face id cannot be fooled by photographs as it does not have any depth, it’s designed to protect against spoofing by masks or other techniques.
Furthermore, you must enter your passcode for additional security validation when:
- The device has just been turned on for first time or restarted.
- The device has been idle for more than 48 hours.
- The device has received a remote lock command.
- After five unsuccessful attempts to match a face.
- After initiating power off/Emergency SOS by pressing and holding either volume button and the side button simultaneously for 2 seconds.
Some less known fact about Face ID is that the data doesn’t leave your device and is never backed up to iCloud or anywhere else. Only in the case that you wish to provide Face ID diagnostic data to AppleCare for support only then information will be transferred from your device. And even in that case data isn’t automatically sent to Apple; you have to first review and approve the diagnostic data before it’s sent.
If your iphone gets lost, then you can choose to delete the data on the device from another Apple device or Apple care cneted, the face id data also gets deleted.
Even if you don’t use Face ID the true depth camera is active all the time, it looks for your face, it dime the light when you are not looking at it, or pause the video when you are not looking at it.
Other third party app developers can also use the face id for authentication purpose, but the face id data is not shared with the developers.
The true depth camera is safe to use under normal conditions, it has gone through international safety standards, the infrared rays will not cause any harm to eyes or skin, due to its very low output power.
Some cameras may be able to detect the infrared light though we may not see it directly and it is normal.
Users with physical limitations can also use the Face ID, the enrollment doesn’t require the full head range of motion it mostly depends on the way you look at your device at the time of registering your face.
Drawbacks of Face ID
The Face ID can be easily tricked by twins or children under 13 having the same statiscal features. May also be tricked with spoofing neural networks which approximates your face fretty accurately. Face ID cannot be used for authorisation of family purchases. And it definitely does not work in landscape mode as they have shown in the commercial.
Apple’s face id is the next big step in security and authentication. The whole Face ID concept is new, as of now a lot of manufacturers started using the face id as a new security measure to unlock your device, the future of Face ID seems bright.