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.

facerec
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

nedman Avatar
140 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)
FrizzleFryBen Avatar
140 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)
Marcus-k Avatar
140 months ago
Hey Samsung, did you get that?

Android already has face recognition.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Pared Avatar
140 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)
Shabach! Avatar
140 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)
kdarling Avatar
140 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)

Popular Stories

iphone 14 pro max vs 13 max 2

Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:44 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. We've spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be. Subscrib ...
tony blevins car

Apple Procurement VP Departs Company After Vulgar TikTok Comment

Thursday September 29, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
Tony Blevins, Apple's vice president of procurement, is set to depart the company after he made a crude comment about his profession in a recent TikTok video, reports Bloomberg. Blevins was in a video by TikTok creator Daniel Mac, who was doing a series on the jobs of people he spotted with expensive cars. After seeing Blevins in an expensive Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Mac asked Blevins what ...
Dark Sky App Featured

Dark Sky Removed From iOS App Store Ahead of Upcoming Shutdown

Wednesday September 28, 2022 4:27 pm PDT by
The Dark Sky weather app that's owned by Apple is no longer available for download in the U.S. App Store, suggesting that it has been removed ahead of schedule. Apple acquired Dark Sky back in March 2020 and has since incorporated elements of the app into the Weather app available on the iPhone (and soon, the iPad). Dark Sky remained available for purchase as a standalone weather app...
adaptive transparency airpods pro

iOS 16.1 Beta Brings Adaptive Transparency to Original AirPods Pro

Thursday September 29, 2022 1:08 pm PDT by
The third beta of iOS 16.1 that was released earlier this week expands the Adaptive Transparency feature introduced with the second-generation AirPods Pro to the original AirPods Pro. As noted on Reddit, first-generation AirPods Pro owners who also have the AirPods beta software will now see an "Adaptive Transparency" toggle in the AirPods section of the Settings app. The 5A304A beta...
tim cook malala

Tim Cook: Not Too Long From Now, You'll Wonder How You Led Your Life Without AR

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:26 am PDT by
Speaking at Università Degli Studi di Napoli Federico II in Naples, Italy, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that not too long from today, people will wonder how they led a life without augmented reality, stressing the "profound" impact it will have on the not so distant future. At the university, Cook was awarded an Honorary Degree in Innovation and International Management and also sat down for a...
iOS 16 Wallpaper Spectrum Feature

Five Wallpaper Apps to Check Out for iOS 16's New Lock Screen Depth Effect

Thursday September 29, 2022 9:08 am PDT by
One of the biggest new features in iOS 16 is a completely redesigned iPhone Lock Screen. The new Lock Screen is entirely customizable, letting you change the colors and fonts, add widgets and new wallpapers, and more to make your iPhone uniquely yours. Of course, even before iOS 16, you could customize your Lock Screen with a wallpaper of your choice. iOS 16 takes the Lock Screen wallpaper...
maxresdefault

Apple Responds to Video Testing Crash Detection Feature With Junkyard Vehicles

Friday September 30, 2022 9:11 am PDT by
The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern recently traveled to Michigan to test Apple's new crash detection feature on the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Ultra. In response, Apple provided some additional information about how the feature works. Stern recruited Michael Barabe to crash his demolition derby car with a heavy-duty steel frame into two unoccupied vehicles parked in a junkyard — a 2003...
iphone 14 iphone 14 plus in hand feature

iPhone 14 Is Secretly Hiding a Beloved Mac Feature

Friday September 30, 2022 3:24 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models bring over a longstanding Mac feature, but the setting to enable it is off by default. The feature, which is actually a new accessibility option, allows the iPhone to play a startup chime like the Mac. When enabled, the sound comes alongside a new shutdown chime. The Mac has featured a startup chime since 1987's Macintosh II, and the iconic "bong"...
Hero0005

Best Apple Deals of the Week: M2 MacBook Air Hits New All-Time Low Price at $1,049, Plus Sales on AirPods Pro and More

Friday September 30, 2022 9:05 am PDT by
This week's best Apple deals focus on the AirPods Pro, AirPods Pro 2, and M2 MacBook Air, including numerous all-time low prices on these devices. You'll also find up to 50 percent off discounts on Anker and Eufy accessories on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us...
iPhone 15 to Switch From Lightning to USB C in 2023 feature sans arrow

Kuo: iPhone 14 Pro Max Popularity Could Lead to More Differentiation Between iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Wednesday September 28, 2022 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has seen high demand for the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, which could lead the company to further differentiate the next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple could add exclusive features to the iPhone 15 Pro Max in an effort to encourage more people to purchase the larger and more expensive device. Kuo last week said that Apple asked...