Apple has published a slew of new data on its Face ID facial scanning technology
Apple has published more details about iPhone X on its website.
The new flagship smartphone will be launched worldwide on November 3rd 2017.
The Cupertino-based company today updated its privacy page with more information about the Face ID facial recognition system in the iPhone X.
Since the iPhone X does not have a physical Home Button (and therefore, doesn’t have the Touch ID fingerprint scanner embedded in the button) Apple has opted for facial recognition.
iPhone X scans your face to unlock the device, as well as authenticate contactless payments and secure apps and content.
Apple has shared details about how the technology inside the iPhone X keeps users’ information private.
Interestingly, the initial set-up process is only the start of the process with Face ID.
Once users have registered their face into the system, Face ID will continuously update its model by saving images after a successful login.
According to Apple, these updated photographs never leave the handset.
Face ID uses these images to adapt to any changes in your face – which explains why the system will not be thrown as you grow a beard, buy new glasses, or wear a hat.
iPhone X gains a much more complete idea of what you look like, thanks to the new images periodically incorporated into the model.
That means you do not simply have to match the photograph taken when you initially set-up the phone.
If Face ID fails five times in a row – Apple requires users to unlock the iPhone with a passcode.
The system them analyses an image of your face to look for any changes it failed to account for and update its data accordingly.
The edge-to-edge iPhone X ditches the physical Home Button – and therefore, the fingerprint scanner
Apple states: “To improve unlock performance and keep pace with the natural changes of your face and look, Face ID augments its stored mathematical representation over time.
“Upon successful unlock, Face ID may use the newly calculated mathematical representation — if its quality is sufficient — for a finite number of additional unlocks before that data is discarded.
“Conversely, if Face ID fails to recognise you, but the match quality is higher than a certain threshold and you immediately follow the failure by entering your passcode, Face ID takes another capture and augments its enrolled Face ID data with the newly calculated mathematical representation.
“This new Face ID data is discarded after a finite number of unlocks and if you stop matching against it.
“These augmentation processes allow Face ID to keep up with dramatic changes in your facial hair or makeup use, while minimising false acceptance.”
Apple has also addressed one of the biggest concerns around Face ID – that it could be used to unlock the owner’s iPhone X against their will.
The new document details some of the protections built into the system.
Face ID will not unlock the system until it detects the user’s eyes are open and pointed directly at the iPhone X, Apple says.
However, there is a chance the authentication is so fast, you could unlock it while instinctively glancing at the device.
Thankfully Face ID can be temporarily disabled by pinching the side buttons to put the phone in shutdown mode.
iPhone X will then require a passcode to unlock.
Apple requires that users make eye-contact with the iPhone X to unlock it
Apple also uses the physical buttons on the iPhone X to confirm intent when authenticating Apple Pay.
Looking at your iPhone alone isn’t enough to approve a transaction.
Users will be required to “confirm intent” by double-tapping the Sleep/Wake button on the side of the iPhone X, before holding the device near to the payment terminal.
Finally, the new documentation reveals Face ID will not be as secure for children under the age of 12.
“The probability that a random person in the population could look at your iPhone X and unlock it using Face ID is approximately 1 in 1,000,000 (versus 1 in 50,000 for Touch ID),” Apple states.
“The statistical probability is different for twins and siblings that look like you and among children under the age of 13, because their distinct facial features may not have fully developed.
“If you’re concerned about this, we recommend using a passcode to authenticate.”
It sounds like Apple has been incredibly thorough with its face scanning technology.
However, it remains to be seen how well the new technology holds up when customers across the world begin using the new handset.