Face ID Unlocks an iPhone More Slowly Than Touch ID, but is Faster in Day-to-Day Usage

Apple's new Face ID facial recognition system coming in the iPhone X unlocks an iPhone more slowly than Touch ID did, according to Tom's Guide.

Tom's Guide is one of the sites that was provided with an iPhone X for evaluation this week, and reviewer Mark Spoonauer compared Face ID and Touch ID unlocking times with a stopwatch.

I've been using Face ID on the iPhone X for more than 24 hours, and I don't need a stopwatch to tell you that it unlocks my phone slower than when I was using Touch ID on my older iPhone 7 Plus. I used a stopwatch app anyway to prove my point.

It took 1.2 seconds for Spoonauer to unlock the iPhone X from pressing the side button on the side of the device and another 0.4 seconds to swipe up to get to the lock screen, while getting to the Home screen on an iPhone 7 Plus using Touch ID took 0.91 seconds.

When using Raise to Wake and swiping up on the display as the iPhone is recognizing a face (as Face ID is meant to be used, according to John Gruber), unlocking was faster at a total of 1.16, but Spoonaeur still found it to be slower than Touch ID.

In a raw comparison like that, Touch ID seems like the faster unlocking method, but as TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino points out, in actual day-to-day usage, Face ID has benefits over Touch ID because it's a more streamlined interaction.

With Touch ID, to do something like open up a notification, you need to tap the notification and then use Touch ID to open the notification, a two step gesture. With Face ID, it recognizes your face as the phone is raised while you're tapping the notification, a quicker, less involved action.

Panzarino says that while Face ID is slower when placed head to head with Touch ID, it's "much more fluid and faster to actually 'do things.'"


Face ID is a first-generation technology, and early Touch ID was also much slower than it is today. In the future, Face ID will improve and get much faster, but even in the interim, it seems to be a more natural biometric authentication method that won't require thought or attention once users become accustomed to the way that it works.

Right now, Face ID is only available to a select number of people who have been provided with early iPhone X review units, but once it launches on Friday, we'll have a much better understanding of just how it works and how it compares to Touch ID in real world usage.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
38 months ago
I get what he's saying, when I want to open a notification and I'm forced to put my finger on the TouchID to open it, it's kind of annoying. I'm excited to not have to do that anymore.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
38 months ago
Touch ID: pick up your phone and put thumb on reader.
Face ID: pick up your phone and swipe up.

Simple.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
38 months ago
Waiting for second gen Face ID to be so fast that people complain forcing Apple to change how the you unlock the device
(For those don’t remember, that happened with Touch ID)
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
38 months ago
its going to be way faster during the winter season
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
38 months ago
OMG people just stop already. And watch a real video that isn’t artificially comparing one vs. the other using a stop watch or whatever. :rolleyes:


Matthew Panzarino (@panzer ('https://twitter.com/panzer?refsrc=email&s=11'))
11/1/17, 1:11 PM ('https://twitter.com/panzer/status/925787347806863360?refsrc=email&s=11')
Here. Let me show you in a video what I mean that Face ID in use is different than Face ID artificially clocked.
https://twitter.com/panzer/status/925787347806863360

Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
38 months ago
You need to factor in the failure rates over a large number of samples to get a fair comparison of time. Touch ID fails for me at least 10% of the time. I then have to stop, try to clean the sensor or dry my hand, try again, have it fail again, give up and then enter my 6 digit PIN. Those incidents last a lot longer than 0.91 seconds, and it happens several times a day.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Leaker: 'iPhone 12 mini' and iPhone 12 Storage Capacities Start at 64GB, Pro Models at 128GB

Tuesday September 29, 2020 2:31 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple's iPhone 12 launch event will be held on October 13, with the more affordable 5.4 and 6.1-inch devices set to ship out ahead of the more expensive 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch Pro devices, and this morning hit-and-miss leaker Jon Prosser has further committed to that date by providing alleged details on Apple's first shipment of finalized iPhone 12 units. Prosser claims the...

Hands-On With iOS 14.2's New Shazam Music Recognition Toggle in Control Center

Monday September 28, 2020 2:35 pm PDT by
Shortly after launching iOS 14, Apple introduced an upcoming iOS 14.2 update, which is now available to developers and public beta testers ahead of a public release that could come at some point in October. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iOS 14.2 update mainly focuses on the Control Center, introducing a new Music Recognition toggle that deepens the Shazam...

Top Stories: iOS 14 Feature Tour, 'iPhone 12 mini' Rumors, Apple Watch Band Controversy

Saturday September 26, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Things started to calm down a bit this week following last week's rush of media event, Apple Watch and iPad launches, and the release of iOS 14 and other operating updates. But that doesn't mean there wasn't still a lot of news, from digging deeper into iOS 14 to more iPhone 12 rumors to the uproar over trying to exchange band sizes on the new Apple Watch. On top of all of that, we heard...

DigiTimes: 12.9-inch Mini-LED iPad Pro Arriving Early 2021, Mini-LED MacBook Coming Later

Tuesday September 29, 2020 4:18 am PDT by
Apple will launch a 12.9-inch mini LED-backlit iPad Pro in early 2021 and a mini LED-backlit MacBook in the second-half of next year, according to DigiTimes. The Taiwan-based industry publication claims Epistar will supply the over-10,000 mini LEDs used in each iPad Pro tablet. Meanwhile, Apple is expected to recruit Osram Opto as another supplier of mini LEDs for use in a new "high-end"...

iPhone 12 May Launch Earlier Than Usual in South Korea

Monday September 28, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
The upcoming iPhone 12 lineup may launch earlier than usual in South Korea, reports The Korea Herald. South Korean telecoms firms speaking to The Korea Herald have said that the iPhone 12 lineup will launch ahead of its usual schedule. Normally, the release of new iPhones in South Korea comes about one month after launch in the United States. Last year, the iPhone 11 arrived in South Korea ...

iOS 14: 'Phoenix 2' Space Shooter Delivers Playable Demo via App Clips

Saturday September 26, 2020 2:08 pm PDT by
One of the new features that arrived in iOS 14 is called App Clips. App Clips is described by Apple to be a "small part of your app" that can be available to users at just the right moment.App Clips focus on finishing one task quickly. An ideal App Clip experience allows users to open and complete a task in seconds. Instead of requiring an App Store download, they can be loaded and run via...

Epic Games Unlikely to Win Injunction in Ongoing Fortnite Battle With Apple, Jury Trial Possible

Monday September 28, 2020 1:14 pm PDT by
The ongoing legal dispute between Apple and Epic Games continued on today, with a preliminary injunction hearing taking place this morning. We're still waiting to hear the judge's official ruling, but it looks like Epic is not going to be granted an injunction to allow Fortnite back into the App Store as the case unfolds. Many of the arguments that lawyers for Apple and Epic Games made were...

iPhone 12 Production Lines at Foxconn's Zhengzhou Factory in China Running '24 Hours a Day'

Tuesday September 29, 2020 3:38 am PDT by
Apple contract manufacturer Foxconn is running its massive Zhengzhou factory in China 24 hours a day to produce the new iPhone 12, according to Chinese media reports. Apple's main iPhone manufacturer in China is said to be cancelling workers' holidays and introducing mandatory overtime with additional bonuses for longer-serving staff, according to information garnered from employees,...

'iPhone 12 mini' Name Reappears in Leaked Apple iPhone 12 Case Stickers

Friday September 25, 2020 1:58 am PDT by
Earlier this week a proven leaker claimed that the iPhone 12 lineup would be named "iPhone 12 mini," "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Pro," and "iPhone 12 Pro Max," and today the same nomenclature has appeared again in a photo depicting alleged stickers from unreleased Silicone iPhone cases originating from Apple's international distribution center in Ireland. The photo shows three stickers with the...

Apple Releases iOS 14.0.1 With Fix for Bug That Resets Default Apps After Rebooting

Thursday September 24, 2020 10:12 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 14.0.1, the first update to the iOS 14 operating system that was released on September 16. Today's update is a bug fix update addressing issues that weren't able to be fixed in the initial iOS 14 launch. The iOS 14.0.1 update is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software Update. ...