Biometric Identification: Apple’s iPhone to Switch to Facial ID
By: Jonat Harris
Security features are incorporated in various systems for validity and authenticity purposes. Developers have over the years revolutionized techniques such as the use of passwords, patterns, access key and biometric identification. One company that has made a significant stride in securing their gadgets is Apple that has worked its way to ensure that their customer gets to enjoy top-notch features.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that Apple’s plans to kill touch ID in their next bunch of product and replace it with face recognition. The move is set to begin early next year with its iPhone X making its debut on November 3. The unique feature is enabled by in-depth sensors that aid in biometric identification and will make X standout from the traditional iPhone 8 and 8 plus.
According to Kuo, KGI Securities analyst, Apple is likely to abandon the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and adopt the Face ID In their iPhone X and SE. He further said that Apple’s decision to remove Touch ID will highly rely on consumer response to facial recognition built into the iPhone X. He further claimed that the Truedepth camera (projects and analyzes over 30,000 invisible dots) of iPhone X gives Apple a competitive edge over other phones in the market. This is an advantage as Android competitors are yet to capitalize on the face ID technology.
How Apple’s iPhone Facial ID Is Poised To Work
First, you have to set your phone to store your image which is done by going to the Settings> Face ID and Passcode then Enroll face. Using iPhone’s front-facing camera to display the face within a circle surrounded with green tick mark that surrounds it. A portion of the A11 Bionic chips neural engine, protected within a secure enclave, is used to transform the depth map and infrared image into a mathematical representation which is used to match with the enrolled facial data.
For the phone to read your face you’ll be forced to move the face in a cyclic manner so as to capture the facial characteristics and match with the stored one. The process involves the use of the infrared and visible light which enables the phone to scan and uniquely identify the face at different lighting conditions.
This is said to be extremely secure. As for those who are skeptical about the technology’s capability to read the face under different conditions, well Face ID is designed to function with hats, glasses, contact lenses and many sunglasses. Also works outdoors, indoors and in total darkness.
For guidance purposes, developers released a Face ID white paper (PDF) and Face ID support document to guide on the usage of the technology.
Designated uses of the Face Id include Apple pay, access to Appstore, iTunes purchases and 3rdparty purchases that currently rely on touch ID. Another gadget set to use this technique is iPad Pro.
Some bad news for children planning to use iPhone X as Apple warns against the use of Face ID for children below the age of 13. This is because many of their faces ‘may not be fully developed’ thus becoming too similar which increases the chances of their phones been unlocked by someone else.
Face ID is said to work best 25–30cm away from face or at arm’s length as it only allows five unsuccessful attempts before requesting a Passcode.
Accessibility and Privacy
Privacy is very important for the uses and that’s why Apple ensures that this is safeguarded by disallowing back up of Face ID in iCloud or anywhere else. The exception is made if you wish to provide facial diagnostic data to Applecare for support after which information is transferred from your device. “Accessibility options” is provided and doesn’t require the full head motion but require more face time with the camera.
The incorporation of facial recognition in iPhone is reportedly slowing down iPhone X production which means that Apple has to move swiftly if they intend to meet next year’s timeline. It’s however important to mention that, no independent body has put to test the practical viability of the envisioned biometric facial identification.
Originally published at sanvada.com on October 16, 2017.