Apple today published a new entry in its online Machine Learning Journal, this time covering an on-device deep neural network for face detection, aka the technology that's used to power the facial recognition feature used in Photos and other apps.

Facial detection features were first introduced as part of iOS 10 in the Core Image framework, and it was used on-device to detect faces in photos so people could view their images by person in the Photos app.

apple machine learning journal
Implementing this technology was no small feat, says Apple, as it required "orders of magnitude more memory, much more disk storage, and more computational resources."

Apple's iCloud Photo Library is a cloud-based solution for photo and video storage. However, due to Apple's strong commitment to user privacy, we couldn't use iCloud servers for computer vision computations. Every photo and video sent to iCloud Photo Library is encrypted on the device before it is sent to cloud storage, and can only be decrypted by devices that are registered with the iCloud account. Therefore, to bring deep learning based computer vision solutions to our customers, we had to address directly the challenges of getting deep learning algorithms running on iPhone.

Apple's Machine Learning Journal entry describes how Apple overcame these challenges by leveraging GPU and CPU in iOS devices, developing memory optimizations for network interference, image loading, and caching, and implementing the network in a way that did not interfere with other tasks expected on iPhone.

The new entry is well worth reading if you're interested in the specific details behind how Apple overcame these challenges to successfully implemented the feature. The technical details are dense, but understandable, and it provides some interesting insight into how facial recognition works.

With its Machine Learning Journal, Apple aims to share the complex concepts behind its technology so the users of its products can get a look behind the curtain. It also serves as a way for Apple's engineers to participate in the AI community.

Apple has previously shared several articles on Siri, including how "Hey Siri," works, and a piece on using machine learning and neural networks for refining synthetic images.

Top Rated Comments

H3LL5P4WN Avatar
59 months ago
Do I enjoy paying over $1000 for a phone (as I have for what, 3 straight years now?)? No. Will I continue to do so? Until they make me a 512gb phone south of that mark, yes. Yes I will.

But bahgawd, the technology Apple is pulling off really is falling squarely into the realm of magical.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Relentless Power Avatar
59 months ago
Anyone else just wowed by the amount of technology embedded into this new iPhone? Our phones are learning more about us then we ever knew Before.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
spacemnspiff Avatar
59 months ago
Anyone else just wowed by the amount of technology embedded into this new iPhone? Our phones are learning more about us then we ever knew Before.
Yet people keep complaining about price, because all it has is the same hardware as the iPhone 8, make childish comments by attributing extra cost to the OLED screen and claiming that no innovation in the smartphone industry is to be had. These high school minded kids have got to grow up.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
59 months ago
But bahgawd, the technology Apple is pulling off really is falling squarely into the realm of magical.
The entire AI community is working on some voodoo. If you couple it with advances in robotics... we are about 2 hours and 23 minutes away from the uprising. This mofo is untethered.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

apple ar headset concept 1

Apple's Headset Said to Feature 14 Cameras Enabling Lifelike Avatars, Jony Ive Has Remained Involved With Design

Friday May 20, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Earlier this week, The Information's Wayne Ma outlined struggles that Apple has faced during the development of its long-rumored AR/VR headset. Now, in a follow-up report, he has shared several additional details about the wearable device. Apple headset render created by Ian Zelbo based on The Information reporting For starters, one of the headset's marquee features is said to be lifelike...
iPhone 14 Purple Lineup Feature

Will the iPhone 14 Be a Disappointment?

Saturday May 21, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
With around four months to go before Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 14 lineup, the overwhelming majority of rumors related to the new devices so far have focused on the iPhone 14 Pro, rather than the standard iPhone 14 – leading to questions about how different the iPhone 14 will actually be from its predecessor, the iPhone 13. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are expected...
sony headphones 1

Sony's New WH-1000XM5 Headphones vs. Apple's AirPods Max

Friday May 20, 2022 12:18 pm PDT by
Sony this week came out with an updated version of its popular over-ear noise canceling headphones, so we picked up a pair to compare them to the AirPods Max to see which headphones are better and whether it's worth buying the $400 WH-1000XM5 from Sony over Apple's $549 AirPods Max. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. First of all, the AirPods Max win out when it comes ...
studio display 3

Apple's Rumored 27-Inch Mini-LED Display Now Said to Launch in October

Friday May 20, 2022 8:07 am PDT by
Apple now plans to release a new 27-inch display with mini-LED backlighting in October due to the Shanghai lockdown, which has resulted in production of the display being delayed, according to display industry consultant Ross Young. In a tweet, Young said Apple is in the process of moving production of the display from Quanta Computer to a different supplier and/or location, resulting in a...
HomePodandMini feature green

Kuo: Apple to Release New HomePod in Late 2022 or Early 2023

Friday May 20, 2022 8:55 am PDT by
Apple is working on an updated version of the HomePod that could come in the fourth quarter of 2022 or the first quarter of 2023, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo says that there "may not be much innovation in hardware design" for the new HomePod, and there is no word on what size the device will be and if it will be a HomePod mini successor or a larger speaker. Apple would ...
airtag purple

Best Apple Deals of the Week: Save on AirTag, AirPods 3, and iPads

Friday May 20, 2022 8:01 am PDT by
Solid markdowns on the AirTag, AirPods 3, and a few iPad models were introduced this week, and below you'll find all of the best deals of the past few days that are still available to purchase. AirTag 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 keep the site running. What's the...