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
49 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
49 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
49 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
49 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)

Top Stories

REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
Apple watch series 5 new case material made of titanium 091019

Titanium Apple Watch Series 6 Models Currently Widely Unavailable

Sunday August 1, 2021 6:21 am PDT by
Models of the Apple Watch Series 6 with titanium cases part of the "Apple Watch Edition" collection is currently widely unavailable for pick-up in several of Apple's retail stores in the United States and is unavailable entirely for delivery in major markets. Noted by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, titanium models of the Apple Watch Series 6,...
ifixit iphone12 mini

Apple to Make Space for Larger Batteries in iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks By Adopting Slimmer Peripheral Chips

Monday August 2, 2021 2:12 am PDT by
For future iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, Apple plans to use smaller internal components in an effort to increase the size of the device's battery, according to DigiTimes. Image Credit: iFixit Specifically, Apple plans to "significantly increase the adoption" of IPDs or integrated passive devices for the peripheral chips in its products. These news chips will be slimmer in size and allow for...
Flat 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature

Unreleased Apple Macs and Apple Watches Listed in Eurasian Database Ahead of Fall Product Launches

Monday August 2, 2021 9:34 am PDT by
Apple is preparing for a slew of fall product launches according to new filings that showed up today in the Eurasian Economic Commission database. There are listings for new Mac and Apple Watch models, all of which have previously unknown model identifiers that indicate that they're upcoming devices. There are six new Apple Watch identifiers, including A2473, A2474, A2475, A2476, A2477, and...
a15 chip

iPhone 13 and Redesigned MacBook Pro Chip Production Hit With Gas Contamination

Friday July 30, 2021 5:44 am PDT by
The most important TSMC factory that manufactures Apple's chips destined for next-generation iPhone and Mac models has been hit by a gas contamination, according to Nikkei Asia. The factory, known as "Fab 18," is TSMC's most advanced chipmaking facility. TSMC is Apple's sole chip supplier, making all of the processors used in every Apple device with a custom silicon chip. Industry...
iPhone 13 Wi Fi 6E feature update

Wi-Fi 6E Explained: What It Could Mean for iPhone 13 and Beyond

Monday August 2, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 is widely expected to come with Wi-Fi 6E capabilities, and while it may seem rather nuanced to the average consumer, with only improved speeds and being "up to date" in the realm of Wi-Fi technology, it's actually a fairly significant improvement, laying the groundwork for much of what we know the future holds. To truly understand Wi-Fi 6E, MacRumors sat down for an exclusive...
youtube premium lite

YouTube Tests Cheaper 'Premium Lite' Subscription for Ad-Free Viewing

Monday August 2, 2021 3:22 am PDT by
YouTube is piloting a new cheaper subscription tier in Europe called "Premium Lite," which offers ad-free viewing minus YouTube Premium's other features. First spotted by a user on ResetEra and subsequently confirmed by Google, the "Lite" plan means users who aren't interested in offline downloads or background playback can still enjoy YouTube videos on web and mobile app without being...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 to Bring Over a Major Feature From the Apple Watch

Wednesday July 28, 2021 2:21 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will feature an always-on display akin to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, according to recent reports. In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that the iPhone 13 may feature an Apple Watch-inspired always-on mode. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch...
COVID19 Digital Wallet Apple Wallet

Australian Government Now Offering COVID-19 Digital Vaccination Certificates for Apple Wallet

Monday August 2, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
The Australian government has introduced support for adding COVID-19 vaccination digital certificates to Apple Wallet via the Express Plus Medicare app on iOS. Image credit: Tap Down Under As spotted by Tap Down Under, users who have received two doses of either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine now have access to the digital certificate through their Medicare online account or via the Medica...