You should beware your iPhone X’s facial recognition as it might make your phone an easy target for both criminals and loved ones.
Apple touted the iPhone X’s advanced technology during its release last month and especially focused on Face ID, the technology that allows you to use your face to unlock your phone. But users are reporting that the facial recognition software is easy to bypass in a number of ways, which sows doubt as to whether or not the technology is reliable enough for wider use.
Face ID uses the iPhone X’s cutting-edge suite of sensors to map your face and use it as a means of identification. The sensors, called TrueDepth, use standard and infrared cameras to get a 2D and 3D model of your facial features, which it then converts into a mathematical model which is keyed to access your phone.
Certain parts of your face, such as the mouth and eyes, are scanned to match the image, while the rest of the face is topographically mapped. This means that you shouldn’t be able to open a phone with Face ID unless the owner is present with eyes open, but there are ways around that.
Take the case of your girlfriend. Complex discovered that if you’re at home asleep she could theoretically grab your phone, hold it to your face, pry open an eye, and gain access, suddenly throwing your relationship into jeopardy as she discovers how many side-chicks you have.
There are other ways to bypass the Face ID lock that don’t involve prying open a sleeping boyfriend’s eyes. Vietnamese engineers created a mask that was able to fool Apple’s software using nothing but a photograph and a 3D printer. By taking a picture of the owners face, they were then able to place the two-dimensional images of the eyes and mouth onto the mask and fool the facial recognition.
A familial similarity is also good enough to fool Face ID. Sana Sherwani posted a video on YouTube showing her son unlocking her phone just using his face. There’s certainly a strong familial resemblance, but not so strong that it should fool a top-notch facial recognition program.
Apple may have to go back to the drawing board on this one.