Apple's facial recognition system for iPhone X is not the first, but it is getting a lot of attention because it replaces fingerprint authentication entirely on the phone.
Should you trust that?
Here five things to know about Apple's Face ID:
1. Your face stays on the phone.
Or rather, the mathematical representation of your face scan stays in the Secure Enclave. Apps and the OS itself just get a yes or no on the match, nothing else is shared.
2. The face updates over time.
If you grow a massive beard between logins you may have to enter your passcode, but the system will then update to take account of the changes.
SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)
3. Masks supposedly can't fool it.
The system works when your eyes are open and looking at the device. Apple claims it worked with Hollywood experts in special effects to make sure a really good mask wouldn't unlock phones. It uses a second neural network to spot attempts at spoofing.
4. You're being scanned by infrared.
The TrueDepth system that's part of FaceID uses infrared so you can even unlock the phone in dark rooms. Apple says this is safe to use under normal conditions.
SEE: Special report: Cybersecurity in an IoT and mobile world (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
5. No matter what you look like, Apple says Face ID should work.
The company has claimed it trained the system on billions of images and claims it used a representative group of people. That means Face ID should work the same no matter your gender, age, or ethnicity.
You now know a little more to help you decide if you want to rely on Face ID in your phone.
Or at least you know enough to know it should still unlock even when your face still shows the shocked look at how much you spent on the iPhone X.
- Australian bank allows iPhone X Face ID logins: User dream or security nightmare? (TechRepublic)
- Apple's Face ID: Everything iPhone X users need to know (TechRepublic)
- Cheat sheet: iPhone X for the enterprise (TechRepublic)
- iPhone X's Face ID: How does it handle beards, makeup, wrinkles? Apple explains (ZDNet)
- Does Face ID make the iPhone X more secure? Depends who's asking (ZDNet)
- iPhone X: The hardware behind Face ID (ZDNet)
- iPhone X: First impressions from our first 3 days (CNET)
Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. Tom hosts Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast, and book club with Veronica Belmont. He also hosts Daily Tech News Show, covering the most important tech issues of the day with the smartest minds in technology.