Face ID in iPhone X: What iOS app developers need to know

Apple announced a new and expensive edition of its popular smartphone – iPhone X – in September. The company then made the iPhone X available in more than 55 countries and territories. In addition to an edge-to-edge OLED display, the iPhone X also comes with a number of out-of-box features to challenge Android platform dominance.

At the same time, the iPhone special model also has an exclusive face recognition system – Face ID. Face ID allows users to use their face like traditional passwords. The face scanning system allows a user to unlock their iPhone X simply by looking at the smartphone with their eyes wide open. He can even use Face ID to keep the data stored on his iPhone X safe and make mobile payments.

However, Face ID in the iPhone X takes advantage of another robust hardware feature of the smartphone – the TrueDepth camera. Many analysts believe that Apple will soon make the innovative face scanning system available for other iPhone and iPad models. Therefore, the iOS developers need to understand important aspects of face recognition in iPhone X to meet the emerging mobile app development trend.

Important Aspects of Face Recognition in iPhone X Every iOS App Developer Must Know

Replaces Touch ID on the iPhone X

Touch ID was an integral part of several iPhone models. The authentication system allows users to unlock their smartphone simply by placing their fingers on the sensor. A user can even use Touch ID to perform various financial transactions and mobile payments. The iPhone X comes with Face ID instead of Touch ID. Unlike Touch ID, Face ID does not require users to touch their smartphone. A user can use Face ID to unlock their device simply by glancing at the screen. At the same time, the iOS app developers can take advantage of the new facial recognition system by simply replacing the Touch ID code with the Face ID code.

Does not obsolete passcodes

Although Touch ID has been replaced on the iPhone X, Face ID has yet to fully replace passcodes. Apple recommends iPhone X users to use passcodes when restarting the device, the device was unlocked for more than 48 hours and the user tried to match a wrong face 5 times. Also, a user needs to use a passcode to make their iPhone X accessible to friends and family members.

Authenticated by TrueDepth Camera

Face ID authenticates users via another new feature of the iPhone X – the TrueDepth camera system. The advanced camera system captures all features of a user’s face through depth mapping. Also, TrueDepth creates a unique face map by capturing over 30,000 invisible points that are projected onto a user’s face. Every time a user unlocks their iPhone X, TrueDepth Camera reads the dot patterns through an infrared camera and captures an infrared image. It then sends the infrared image to Secure Enclave in the A11 Bionic Chip. Once the infrared image is verified as authentic, the iPhone will be unlocked.

Uses machine learning

A user’s appearance may change from time to time. Face ID uses machine learning algorithms to detect changes in a user’s appearance. Therefore, a user can unlock their iPhone X regardless of their current looks. He can use Face ID on the iPhone X to unlock and authenticate himself, despite wearing a hat, glasses and growing a beard. The TrueDepth camera also uses a floodlight to identify a user’s face through invisible infrared light when the light is insufficient.

Prevents unauthorized device access

Despite recognizing different appearances of the same user, Face ID in the iPhone X still doesn’t allow other people to unlock the smartphone. Unlocking the iPhone X requires a user to keep their eyes open. When the user’s eyes are closed, the iPhone X remains unlocked. The feature makes it difficult for unauthorized users to unlock the mobile device when the original user is sleeping or absent. However, Face ID in the iPhone X lacks the ability to identify identical twins. A user must additionally use a passcode to prevent their iPhone X from being inaccessible to the twin.

No possibility to register multiple users

Apple further increases the security of the iPhone X by allowing each user to register a single face. No user has the ability to register multiple faces. Therefore, only one user can unlock and authenticate using Face ID. However, a user can still make their iPhone X accessible to multiple users by sharing their passcode. Multiple users can access the same iPhone X by authenticating using a passcode instead of Face ID.

Performs multiple tasks

Besides iPhone X security, Face ID also improves user experience by performing some basic tasks. Additionally, the attention-focused nature of the facial recognition system allows users to perform basic tasks simply by looking at the iPhone X. For example, a user can use Face ID to check messages and notifications, turn down the volume of alarms or ringtones, and keep the screen lit while reading.

Enables mobile payments

In addition to improving the security of the iPhone X, Face ID will also make mobile payments easier. It works seamlessly with Apple Pay. Also, a user can use Face ID on iPhone X while shopping at brick-and-mortar stores and restaurants that support Touch ID payments. Also, the apps that support Touch ID allow users to use Face ID. Developers can make their existing iOS apps support Face ID by replacing the Touch ID passcode with the Face ID passcode. However, many banks and financial institutions have yet to fully support Face ID.

Security and Privacy Issues

Apple implements several security mechanisms to keep face scanning private and secure. After scanning a user’s face, the TrueDepth camera system stored the information directly in the A11 Bionic chip. Apple also doesn’t transfer the information to its server or cloud. Therefore, the face scan information only stays on the iPhone X. Apple also uses the face recognition system as a robust security tool to keep user data inaccessible and prevent unauthorized access. A hacker in Vietnam recently claimed to crack Face ID by creating a complex face mask. However, several security experts believe that Apple needs to make some changes to Face ID in the iPhone X to make it an effective security measure.

Overall, Face ID in iPhone X is changing iOS app development by replacing Touch ID. But the iOS app developers have to keep in mind that the facial recognition system is currently only used by a single iPhone model. Apple will gradually make Face ID available for upcoming versions of the iPhone and iPad. Therefore, developers need to look for ways to make their existing iOS apps support Face ID. Also, they need to adopt the emerging trends in iOS app development to keep their mobile app relevant and popular for a longer period of time.

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