Apple Says Face ID Didn't Fail Onstage During iPhone X Keynote

During an iPhone X demo conducted by Craig Federighi in yesterday's keynote, Face ID appeared to fail to recognize his face, leading to doubts about the feature's reliability and accuracy.


There was a lot of speculation about just what went wrong on stage, ranging from a Face ID failure to a passcode lock, and according to Apple, it was the latter issue that caused the device not to work properly on stage. In a statement provided to Yahoo's David Pogue, Apple says the device locked after several people interacted with it ahead of Federighi, causing it to require a passcode to unlock.

Tonight, I was able to contact Apple. After examining the logs of the demo iPhone X, they now know exactly what went down. Turns out my first theory in this story was wrong--but my first UPDATE theory above was correct: "People were handling the device for stage demo ahead of time," says a rep, "and didn't realize Face ID was trying to authenticate their face. After failing a number of times, because they weren't Craig, the iPhone did what it was designed to do, which was to require his passcode." In other words, "Face ID worked as it was designed to."

While Touch ID locks the iPhone and requires users to input a passcode after five failed entry attempts, Face ID only allows for two failed recognition attempts before it locks the iPhone and requires a passcode to access the device, according to developer documentation. There were arguments over how many times Federighi attempted to unlock the iPhone X with Face ID while on stage given that two attempt limitation, but Apple's explanation makes sense. A secondary iPhone X unlocked with no issues during the demonstration.

The ins and outs of Face ID and its reliability will remain largely unknown until the iPhone X launches in November and is in the hands of customers. Members of the media received hands-on time with the device following the event, but reviews were somewhat mixed. Most people were generally impressed with Face ID and saw it work seamlessly, but there was also at least one report of a problems with the feature not working until the display was turned on and off.

Face ID uses infrared scanning techniques to create a mathematical model of a user's face, which is compared to a facial scan stored on the device to authenticate. Because it uses infrared, Face ID works in the dark and in low lighting conditions, and Apple says it also works with hats, glasses, and beards, makeup, and other items that might partially obscure the face.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
33 months ago
I knew it. I always trust apple. God bless them.
Score: 60 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
33 months ago

So what this means is if I am showing an article to my friends or showing my friends what is on the lockscreen display the phone is going to go into "require a passcode mode" after it gets passed around to 3 of my friends to laugh after it gets back to me?

Only if you lock the phone before you pass it to your friends.
Score: 58 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
33 months ago
So what this means is if I am showing a funny text on my lockscreen to my friends... the phone is going to go into "require a passcode mode" after it gets passed around to 3 of my friends before it gets back to me?

If this were Touch ID, this wouldn't be an issue. I don't think each one of my friends would be "touching the home button" of my phone with each of their fingers. (sounds dirty)
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
33 months ago
Makes completely sense. Works as intended.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
33 months ago
You people are ridiculous on so many levels. You have an issue with "oh no the face id thing failed! Ahhhh" then its confirmed that it didn't actually fail and you move onto the next thing you could conceivably be upset about "ohhh wow. So it didn't fail. BUT what if a bunch of random people are just staring at my locked phone??"

You people are just looking for reasons to be upset. Jesus Christ people. It's never ending. Dreaming up scenarios that most likely won't happen ala Touch ID "what if someone wants to rob you and cuts your finger off?!?!"

Just take a break and enjoy the current state of tech for a bit. We live in amazing times
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
33 months ago

So what this means is if I am showing a funny text on my lockscreen to my friends... the phone is going to go into "require a passcode mode" after it gets passed around to 3 of my friends before it gets back to me?


No since you looked at the screen first it would have already unlocked.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Considering Delaying iPhone 12 Launch 'by Months'

Wednesday March 25, 2020 12:51 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple is preparing to delay the launch of the 2020 iPhones expected to be equipped with 5G technology, according to sources with knowledge of Apple's plans that spoke to Japanese news site Nikkei. Apple has reportedly held internal discussions about the possibility of delaying the launch "by months" over fears of how well iPhones would sell in the current situation, and supply chain sources...

Apple Helps Source Over 10 Million N95 Masks for Healthcare Providers in the U.S.

Wednesday March 25, 2020 10:25 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple over the weekend announced plans to donate millions of N95 masks to hospitals in the United States and Europe, and according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple has been able to source more than 10 million N95 masks in the U.S. and millions more in Europe. Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Saturday that Apple was aiming to donate supplies to healthcare providers fighting COVID-19, and clarified...

Hands-On With the New 2020 12.9-Inch iPad Pro

Wednesday March 25, 2020 2:10 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple last week announced new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, and as of today, the new iPads are arriving to customers. We picked up one of the new 12.9-inch models and checked it out to see just what's new and whether it's worth buying. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. When it comes to design, the new iPad Pro models are identical to the 2018 iPad Pro models, but ...

Kuo: Apple to Launch Several Macs With Arm-Based Processors in 2021, USB4 Support Coming to Macs in 2022

Thursday March 26, 2020 8:19 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple plans to launch several Mac notebooks and desktop computers with its own custom designed Arm-based processors in 2021, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Kuo believes that Arm-based processors will significantly enhance the competitive advantage of the Mac lineup, allow Apple to refresh its Mac models without relying on Intel's processor roadmap,...

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.4 With New Mail Toolbar, iCloud Folder Sharing, Trackpad Support for iPad and More

Tuesday March 24, 2020 9:56 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.4, the latest major updates to the iOS 13 operating system that was released in September. iOS and iPadOS 13.4 come two months after the release of iOS and iPadOS 13.3.1 with Screen Time Communication Limits. The iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.4 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.4 With Screen Time Communication Limits and Real-Time Apple Music Lyrics

Tuesday March 24, 2020 10:21 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.4, the fourth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October. macOS Catalina 10.15.4 comes a couple of months after the release of macOS Catalina 10.15.3. macOS Catalina 10.15.4 can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for free using the Update feature in the System Preferences app. The macOS Catalina 10.15.4 update...

Apple Says MacBook Air With Retina Display Can Exhibit Anti-Reflective Coating Issues, Unclear if Eligible for Free Repairs [Updated]

Thursday March 26, 2020 8:16 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple this week acknowledged that MacBook Air models with Retina displays can exhibit anti-reflective coating issues, as indicated in a memo shared with Apple Authorized Service Providers and obtained by MacRumors. "Retina displays on some MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro computers can exhibit anti-reflective (AR) coating issues," the memo states. Apple's internal service documentation ...

Hands-On With Apple's New Smart Keyboard Folio for the 2020 iPad Pro Models

Tuesday March 24, 2020 12:38 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple last week introduced new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, which are set to arrive in the hands of customers starting this week. Apple introduced a nifty new Magic Keyboard with trackpad alongside the new iPad Pro models that's coming in May, but it also debuted a new Smart Keyboard Folio, which is available now. We picked up the Smart Keyboard Folio for the designed for the 2020 iPad...

Hands-On With the New $999 MacBook Air

Thursday March 26, 2020 1:45 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Alongside new iPad Pros last week, Apple also refreshed the MacBook Air, adding more storage, faster 10th-generation processors, and an updated keyboard. We picked up one of the new machines to take a look at some of the upgrades added in the 2020 update. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, there are no real external changes to the MacBook Air's body,...

Mobile Networks in Multiple Countries Display 'Stay Home' Message When Users Connect to Cellular Instead of WiFi

Tuesday March 24, 2020 3:46 pm PDT by Juli Clover
iPhone users in several countries who disconnect from WiFi on their devices will see a "Stay Home" message at the top of the Control Center where cellular network information is displayed. Image via Matt Navarra According to reports on Twitter, the status bar messages are showing up in countries that include Germany, Belgium, United Arab Emirates, Peru, Turkey, India, Luxembourg, Romania,...