HomePod Firmware Suggests iPhone 8 Will Be Able to Scan Your Face Even While Device is Lying Flat

The newest discovery found within the HomePod firmware has shed some light on the iPhone 8's facial recognition software, and how it could potentially scan a user's face even when the smartphone is lying flat on a table. Uncovered by iHelp BR, code within the firmware related to "Pearl," which is Apple's internal name for the new facial recognition system, also includes multiple references to the word "resting" alongside "unlock."

The feature was discovered to be categorized as an accessibility option, specifically called "AXRestingPearlUnlock" and "com.apple.accessibility.resting.pearl.unlock". While not an exact confirmation, the HomePod firmware discovery does corroborate a report by Bloomberg from July that said Apple was working on an "improved" facial recognition system for iPhone 8, which would replace Touch ID and allegedly work even when the smartphone was flat on a table.

Image via iHelp BR

That story claimed the iPhone 8's facial recognition would capture more data points than Touch ID, making it more secure. When rumors first came out that the iPhone 8 would potentially remove Touch ID completely, many iPhone users raised concerns about not being able to unlock their devices as they have been for years, due to a facial recognition system that would need to have the iPhone brought up directly in front of their face.

According to Bloomberg's report, and the new HomePod firmware findings, Apple's facial identification software will have far more nuance than simply scanning faces head-on, and allow the smartphone to be unlocked even when it's at an odd angle. At the time of the report last month, the advanced facial recognition feature was "still being tested" and had the potential to not appear in the iPhone 8 this year. The new discovery within the HomePod firmware, which runs a modified version of iOS, makes it more likely that the advanced face ID system could make it into the iPhone 8.

One of the first HomePod firmware discoveries was a glyph of the iPhone 8

The firmware also includes references to Apple's facial detection software working with third-party apps, found in a string called "APPS_USING_PEARL". This means that users would potentially be able to unlock features within certain apps using their face, like they can currently within banking apps, for example, using their fingerprint and Touch ID. Another line includes a detail called "PEARL_AUTOLOCK", and iHelp BR theorizes this could be a security feature that automatically locks the iPhone when it detects someone trying to open it whose face doesn't match that of the authenticated user.

According to a recent Tweet by Mark Gurman, Apple's pitch for facial recognition will be that the new feature is "quicker, more secure, and more accurate than Touch ID." Other recent HomePod firmware leaks revealed that the iPhone 8's facial recognition will likely work with Apple Pay and that the smartphone might record 4K Video at 60 FPS with both front and rear cameras.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
41 months ago
HomePod Firmware Suggests Winning Lottery Numbers
Score: 79 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago
Really hope this isn't replacing Touch ID and is being introduced alongside as an alternative
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago
I'm really hoping Apple opens this precognitive device to developers; I'd love a magic 8 ball app.

"HomePod, how long will I live?"



"…"

Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago

It will replace Touch ID I think, it's not necessarily a bad thing either, it seems Apple have put a lot of thought into this and it will a more advanced system. Expect Apple to do with facial scanning what they did with Touch ID.

I’m still kinda sceptical about FaceID, but that’s largely due to how much I love TouchID. It’s a high bar Apple has set for itself.

It just occurred to me though that *maybe* we’ve been looking at this backwards. Could be that keeping TouchID was the backup plan for Apple, in case FaceID couldn’t be made to work well enough. And dropping TouchID has more to do with FaceID being a success than with problems adding TouchID to the iPhone 8. Maybe. I just hope it really is good enough, so we’ll see…

I also suspect that FaceID won’t be a background thing, and will need a (virtual) home button press for it to trigger. If so (and if it works properly) that would make it feel indistinguishable from TouchID. Or even better than TouchID, if you have wet hands etc.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago


The newest discovery found within the HomePod firmware has shed some light on the iPhone 8's facial recognition software, and how it could potentially scan a user's face even when the smartphone is laying flat on a table.

Lying flat, not laying flat.



Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago

what if all these ''leaks'' via the HomePod firmware is one big hoax!? ;)

Apple trolling everyone would be so funny :D
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iOS 14 Widgets Offer iPhone Users Creative Home Screen Ideas

Sunday September 20, 2020 8:43 pm PDT by
In iOS 14, Apple introduced ‌the concept of Home Screen‌ widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. Widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. Despite the relative lack of 3rd party widgets at launch, iOS users around the...

iPhone 12 Lineup Rumored to Be Named 'iPhone 12 mini,' 'iPhone 12,' 'iPhone 12 Pro,' and 'iPhone 12 Pro Max'

Monday September 21, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
Leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today shared the alleged naming for the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup on Twitter. The tweet proposes that the upcoming iPhone 12 models will be titled "iPhone 12 mini," "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Pro," and "iPhone 12 Pro Max." The names likely correspond to the three expected sizes of iPhone 12, with the 5.4-inch model being the iPhone 12 mini, the 6.7-inch model ...

Hands-On With the New Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE

Friday September 18, 2020 1:19 pm PDT by
Today's the official launch date for the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE, both of which Apple announced on Tuesday. We picked up a couple of the new models and thought we'd give them a quick look for MacRumors readers thinking of ordering a new watch. Apple Watch Series 6 & Apple Watch SE Hands-On! When it comes to design, both the $399 Series 6 and the $279 SE look just like...

iOS 14 Picture in Picture No Longer Working With YouTube's Mobile Website in Safari [Without Premium]

Friday September 18, 2020 12:21 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 14 added Picture in Picture to the iPhone, a feature designed to let you watch a video in a small screen on your device while you continue to do other things on the phone. When Picture in Picture was working with YouTube The YouTube app doesn't support Picture in Picture, but up until yesterday there was a functional workaround that allowed videos from YouTube.com to be watched...

When Will the iPhone 12 Launch? Here's What We Know

Wednesday September 16, 2020 6:12 am PDT by
Yesterday's "Time Flies" Apple event saw the release of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, iPad 8, and iPad Air 4, but no new iPhone models. Rumors before the event strongly alleged that it would not see the unveiling of new iPhones, with many reports pointing to an October launch. The lack of new iPhone models yesterday seems to confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will not appear...

Here's How You Can Download iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Around the World [It's Out]

Wednesday September 16, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Apple's official public release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 dropped on Wednesday, September 16, just a day after the company released the Golden Master to third-party developers. Also set to be made available to the general public for the first time are watchOS 7 and tvOS 14. Getting Started With iOS 14 Video Click image to watch iOS 14 Getting Started While that's left a lot of developers...

AirPods Studio Rumored to Come With U1 Chip, Ultra-Wideband Said to Be Vital to Future Apple Ecosystem

Sunday September 20, 2020 6:17 am PDT by
Proven leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today shared a range of information about the ultra-wideband U1 chip in Apple's upcoming AirTags item trackers and AirPods Studio headphones. The first of a series of tweets shared today simply stated that AirPods Studio will contain an ultra-wideband U1 chip. It seems likely that the U1 chip would be used in AirPods Studio to track the location of...

Kuo: Apple to Accelerate Adoption of Mini-LED Displays in iPad and Mac Notebook Lineups

Sunday September 20, 2020 10:00 pm PDT by
Increased competition among Apple's suppliers for mini-LED display chips will accelerate the company's adoption of the advanced technology in its iPad and MacBook lineups, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo seen by MacRumors. Kuo says that while Epistar had been predicted to be the exclusive supplier of mini-LED chips for Apple products in 2021, Sanan Optoelectronics...

Top Stories: Apple Event Recap, Apple Watch Series 6, Redesigned iPad Air, and More

Saturday September 19, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
This week's news was obviously dominated by Apple's media event and the launch of iOS 14, but there was a lot to digest, so check out our summary below for the high-level view of the past week. With the exception of the massively redesigned iPad Air, all of the new hardware introduced this week is starting to appear on store shelves and on customers' doorsteps, while all of the new software...

Apple Updates AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro Firmware to Version 3A283

Monday September 14, 2020 11:24 am PDT by
Apple today released new 3A283 firmware updates for the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro. The second-generation AirPods are being updated from the 2D15 firmware they were previously running, while the AirPods Pros are being updated from the 2D27 firmware they had installed previously. Apple does not provide details on what's included in refreshed firmware so we don't know what's ...