Apple's Face ID Feature Works With Most Sunglasses, Can Be Quickly Disabled to Thwart Thieves

Apple's new Face ID facial recognition feature will work with most sunglasses, according to Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi.

"Most sunglasses let through enough IR light that Face ID can see your eyes even when the glasses appear to be opaque. It's really amazing!" Federighi said in an email to MacRumors reader and developer Keith Krimbel (@yokeremote and @keithkrimbel on Twitter) who emailed the Apple exec with a list of questions this morning.

faceidscaniphonex
While Apple's Face ID coverage has specifically said the feature works with hats, scarves, beards, glasses, makeup, and other items that might obscure the face, sunglasses were not specifically mentioned. Federighi's answer clears up one of the last major unknowns about Face ID.

Krimbel also asked for details on what would prevent a thief from taking the iPhone X, pointing it at his face, and running off. In response, Federighi says there are two mitigations in place. "If you don't stare at the phone, it won't unlock," he wrote. "Also, if you grip the buttons on both sides of the phone when [you] hand it over, it will temporarily disable Face ID."

In addition to answering these questions, Federighi also commented on the now highly-publicized on-stage Face ID gaffe that saw the feature fail to recognize his face. According to Apple, the software failed because someone else had picked up the phone ahead of Federighi's demo. Federighi says it's not really an issue he had encountered before.

The bio-lockout that I experienced on stage would require several interacts by other people with your phone (where they woke up the phone). For those of us who have been living on the iPhone X over the last months this has never been a real problem (hence my shock when it happened to me on stage! :-)

The Face ID facial recognition feature is designed to replace Touch ID as the new de facto biometric authentication system. While it's limited to the iPhone X at this time, Apple has said it is the future of how we will unlock our smartphones.

craigfederighiemail
For more on how Face ID scans your face, whether it can be fooled, how it works with Apple Pay, and the built-in privacy features, make sure to check out our Face ID post that covers all of the ins and outs of the new feature.

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

iPhone SE 4 With Face ID Said to Be Priced Below $500

Monday May 20, 2024 3:43 am PDT by
Apple is targeting a sub-$500 starting price for its upcoming fourth-generation iPhone SE model despite a raft of rumored upgrades coming to the more affordable device. According to leaker Revegnus on X, the U.S. launch price of the fourth-generation iPhone SE will either remain at the same $429 starting price as the current model, or will see an increase of around 10%. Either way, Apple's...
iOS 17

Apple Releases iOS 17.5.1 With Fix for Reappearing Photos Bug

Monday May 20, 2024 10:11 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1, minor updates to the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 operating system updates that came out last September. The 17.5.1 updates come a week after the launch of iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5. iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1 can be downloaded on eligible iPhones and iPads over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. According to Apple's...
iPhone 16 Camera Lozenge 2 Perspective

iPhone 16 Lineup Rumored to Come in These Two New Colors

Sunday May 19, 2024 11:08 am PDT by
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today outlined his expectations for the iPhone 16 lineup's color options, revealing that two new colors should replace two of the existing shades. Kuo outlined his expectations in a post on X (formerly Twitter) earlier today. He believes that the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will be available in black, white or silver, gray or "Natural Titanium," and rose....
microsoft surface pro qualcomm

Microsoft Says New Surface Pro is Faster Than 15" M3 MacBook Air

Monday May 20, 2024 3:19 pm PDT by
Microsoft is going all in on AI, today introducing a series of Copilot+ PCs that have AI-focused hardware. The new Surface Pro is one of the first Copilot+ PCs, equipped with Qualcomm's Arm-based Snapdragon X Elite processor. Microsoft is already pitting the Surface Pro against Apple's M3 MacBook Air, and in marketing materials, claims that the Surface Pro has superior processing power and...
iOS 17

iOS 17.5 Bug May Also Resurface Deleted Photos on Wiped, Sold Devices [Updated]

Friday May 17, 2024 12:24 pm PDT by
A bug in iOS 17.5 is apparently causing photos that have been deleted to reappear, and the issue seems to impact even iPhones and iPads that have been erased and sold off to other people. A Reddit user wiped an iPad following Apple's guidelines in September of 2023 before selling it off to a friend. That friend updated the iPad to iPadOS 17.5 this week, and began seeing the Reddit user's old ...
iphone se 4 modified flag edges

When to Expect the Next iPhone SE to Launch

Friday May 17, 2024 2:03 pm PDT by
It has been over two years since Apple released the third-generation iPhone SE, and rumors continue to surface about a new model. The latest word comes from The Information, which today reported that Apple plans to release a new iPhone SE with a design similar to the standard iPhone 14 in the spring of 2025. If this rumor is accurate, the iPhone SE would finally gain Face ID and a notch...

Top Rated Comments

coolbreeze Avatar
87 months ago
So then it can easily be used while sleeping. It can easily be used by cops.
It's a convenience. If you hold National Security secrets on your telephone, don't use faceid or touchid. Use a complex password only. Also, don't put servers in mom 'n pop stores either. That's not a good idea.

Seriously, I laugh when people throw out dramatic scenarios about the legitimacy of this. IF A COP POINTS IT AT ME AN RUNS AWAYY, WHAT DO YOU DO THEN HUH? GOTCHYA!!1

I mean, use a complex password if you are planning an attack or something. Otherwise if you want your cat/dick pics to stay safe, you are good with touch/face id.
Score: 75 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SoApple Avatar
87 months ago
Honestly , the thief in question can take your finger and force you to put it on the touch id. Face ID , Touch ID ... if you're being robbed - chances are- they'll get you to open your phone.
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
theBigD23 Avatar
87 months ago
So then it can easily be used while sleeping. It can easily be used by cops.
No it cannot. You need to have your eyes opened.
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
87 months ago
If someone points a gun at me and wants to steal my phone - they can have it. As for disabling it for cops, again if that is a concern, use the password. Jeez some of you people are craycray arguing about this.

I am glad that I can disable it if I want by pressing two buttons. That is new info and thanks MR for asking.
Not even that, but you can:

* Remotely disable it by using Find my iPhone on the web or another device
* Quickly tap the lock button five times, which also disables biometrics for police who, in the US, can't compel you to give them your passcode because it's against the law.

Apple goes to these ridiculous lengths to ensure privacy and security, and people still complain. What's pathetic is that many of these users happily give over all of their personal information to Google every day.
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
A MacBook lover Avatar
87 months ago
I still don't see any real benefit over Touch ID.

They've replaced it with something that's more convenient in some and less convenient in other ways, works slower and has more potential of someone else unlocking it against your will.
You must’ve never got out of the pool or had messy hands and had to use your wet hands on touch ID
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Chatter Avatar
87 months ago
If someone points a gun at me and wants to steal my phone - they can have it. As for disabling it for cops, again if that is a concern, use the password. Jeez some of you people are craycray arguing about this.

I am glad that I can disable it if I want by pressing two buttons. That is new info and thanks MR for asking.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)