Apple's Multi-User Face Recognition Plans for iPad Revealed in Patent

Back when the iPad was still just a rumor, the Wall Street Journal reported that one of the features that Apple had been working on with their upcoming tablet was the ability to recognize users by face.

One person familiar with the matter said Apple has put significant resources into designing and programming the device so that it is intuitive to share. This person said Apple has experimented with the ability to leave virtual sticky notes on the device and for the gadget to automatically recognize individuals via a built-in camera. It is unclear whether these features will be included at launch.

The effort was part of Apple's efforts to make their new tablet a multi-user device. Facial recognition, however, never made it into the iPad, but a newly published patent application gives us insight into this feature that didn't make it into the shipping product.


Screenshot via PatentlyApple

AppleInsider notes that the new patent application offers a way for multiple users to share a device:

The filing provides a simple way for multiple users to share a single device, like an iPad. Each user could customize their personal profile with unique wallpaper, applications and settings, and that profile would be immediately accessed once the iPad recognizes a user's face.

The face detection system reportedly could be a low-power system that is always active, allowing face detection to be the primary method to unlock your iOS device. Apple's patent was filed in June, 2010, soon after the first iPad was introduced.

Face recognition as a security measure, however, has some possible flaws. Google's Android recently introduced a Face Unlock feature as well, but reports have suggested it can be fooled by a photograph of the user.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
112 months ago

Hey Samsung, did you get that?

Already on the Samsung nexus as standard. Can see a patent feud blowing up! Not like apple!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
112 months ago

I apologize for raining on your parade, but somebody needs to tell you that Android 4 already has face recognition for authentication built in. It's just ANOTHER feature that Apple "borrows" from Android.


Apple's patent was filed in June, 2010. Android 4 was announced Oct. 19, 2011.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
112 months ago

Hey Samsung, did you get that?


Android already has face recognition.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
112 months ago
What some of you fail to realize is that the use of this feature is to allow multiple user accounts on the device that are recognized solely by facial recognition.

This is taking what many claim that Android had "first" and using it in a more practical sense than a tech demo.

I'm not interested in the iOS vs. Android debate - but it's quite obvious to me that this isn't in iOS because it wasn't ready, for reasons unknown. For all anyone knows, Apple may have known the picture unlock was a flaw and didn't put it into production. Google on the other hand claimed it wasn't a flaw and did put it into production.

Either way, I'm sure they're aware of the flaw in Android's implementation and would make sure this isn't a possible workaround.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
112 months ago
There's An App For That!

I apologize for raining on your parade, but somebody needs to tell you that Android 4 already has face recognition for authentication built in. It's just ANOTHER feature that Apple "borrows" from Android.


Well....There is actually an app for facial recognition in the Nokia Store and has been available for several months for my N8 and other Symbian devices, so the facial recognition aspect of unlocking a device is nothing new, as Android may have you believe.

Just because other manufacturers want to build this functionality into the OS is really just a natural evolution; and it seems that Apple's implementation goes far beyond the basic implementation that is on ICS.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
112 months ago
Multi-user is NOT what this patent appication is about

I actually may have thought of this before Apple. Why didn't I patent it!


Probably because everyone on the planet has thought of using facial recognition for multi-user login, and/or has already done it before.

Which is why this patent is NOT about multi-user :) ... it's just given as an example use.

THIS PATENT APPLICATION IS ABOUT USING ORANGE SKIN TONES TO HELP WITH A LOW POWER RECOGNITION SYSTEM.

(Along with optionally checking eye and mouth positions and trying to reject photos.)

Hmm. I wonder if the orange range might present a problem:

Remember a couple of years ago when HP's WebCam tracking software totally failed to "see" dark skinned people in front of it? Ooops! Big PR mistake.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Announces New 27-Inch iMac With 10th-Gen Processors, Up to 128GB RAM, 1080p Webcam, True Tone, and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 8:07 am PDT by
Apple today announced a new 27-inch iMac with faster 10th-generation Intel Core processor options, next-generation AMD graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, a higher-resolution 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, a T2 chip, higher fidelity speakers, studio-quality microphones, and more. A breakdown of the new 27-inch iMac's features and specs:10th...

8 Third-Party Home Screen Widgets That You Can Try Out Now on iOS 14

Wednesday August 5, 2020 12:56 pm PDT by
One of the biggest new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. When the iOS 14 beta was first released in June, widgets were limited to Apple's own apps like Calendar and Weather, but several third-party developers have begun to test ...

Everything New in iOS 14 Beta 4: Apple TV Widget, Search Improvements, Exposure Notification API and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 11:14 am PDT by
Apple today released the fourth developer betas of iOS and iPadOS 14 for testing purposes, tweaking and refining some of the features and design changes included in the update. Changes get smaller and less notable as the beta testing period goes on, but there are still some noteworthy new features in the fourth beta, which we've highlighted below. - Apple TV widget - There's a new Apple TV...

Apple May Launch This Year's 'iPhone 12' Lineup in Two Stages, With 6.1-inch Models Debuting First

Monday August 3, 2020 3:14 am PDT by
Apple last week confirmed that its "‌iPhone‌ 12" launch will be delayed this year due to the ongoing global health crisis and restrictions on travel. Apple last year started selling iPhones in late September, but this year, Apple projects supply will be "available a few weeks later," suggesting a release sometime in October. We're expecting a total of four OLED iPhones in 5.4, 6.1, and...

Apple Explains Why You Might See 'Not Charging' When a Mac is Plugged In

Monday August 3, 2020 1:42 pm PDT by
If you have a Mac and have seen a "Not Charging" warning when plugging it in to power, Apple last week released a support document that explains why. Macs running macOS 10.15.5 or later have a Battery Health Management feature to preserve the life of the battery, and occasionally, the Battery Health Management option will cause the Mac to pause its charging for calibration purposes.Depending ...

Supposed iPhone 12 Display Unit Leaks

Thursday August 6, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
An image supposedly of an iPhone 12 display unit has been shared online by leaker "Twitter user Mr. White". Compared to images of an iPhone 11 Pro display piece, this new unit has a reoriented display connector, reaching up from the bottom of the display, rather than from the left-hand side on iPhone 11 Pro. This may be due to the logic board moving to the other side of the device. A...

Google's $349 Pixel 4a vs. Apple's $399 iPhone SE

Wednesday August 5, 2020 1:45 pm PDT by
Google this week launched its newest smartphone, the $349 Pixel 4a, a low-cost device that's designed to compete with other affordable devices like Apple's iPhone SE. We picked up one of the new Pixel 4a smartphones and thought we'd check it out to see how it measures up to the iPhone SE, given that the two devices have such similar price points. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel ...

Apple-Acquired Dark Sky Officially Shuts Down Android App

Saturday August 1, 2020 3:43 pm PDT by
Apple in March purchased weather app Dark Sky, and at that time, Dark Sky's developers said that the app's Android version would be discontinued on July 1, 2020. However, instead of shuttering the app on that date, the app's developers announced that the discontinuation would be delayed for another month. Now that it's August, Android users are no longer able to access the app, and...

Samsung Launches Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy Z Fold 2, and Galaxy Buds to Compete With Apple's iPhones and AirPods Pro

Wednesday August 5, 2020 10:07 am PDT by
Samsung today held a virtual Galaxy Unpacked event where it unveiled its next-generation smartphones that will compete with Apple's 2020 iPhone lineup, set to come out in the fall. Samsung announced the launch of the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, the two newest devices in the Note lineup, and, more notably, the Galaxy Z Fold 2, Samsung's latest foldable smartphone. The...

Alleged 'iPhone 12' Images Depict Circular Array of Magnets in Chassis

Wednesday August 5, 2020 4:39 am PDT by
New images shared on Weibo appear to show a circular array of magnets housed inside an "iPhone 12" chassis. The unverified images depict 36 individual magnets in a circular arrangement, suggesting they could be related to mounting or charging. EverythingApplePro, who shared the Weibo-originating images on Twitter, also posted an image of an alleged iPhone 12 case with a similar array of...