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Craig Federighi: Apple Focused on Single-User Face ID, Touch ID Was Never Intended for Multiple Users

Apple's current focus with Face ID is on single-user authentication, suggesting support for multiple faces won't be added in the near future, according to an email from the company's software engineering chief Craig Federighi.


By comparison, Touch ID can store up to five fingerprints, and each of those fingerprints can belong to a different person. This allows a married couple, for example, to be able to securely authenticate a single iPhone.

In an email to a customer, however, Federighi admitted that Touch ID's multi-finger support has always been intended for a single iPhone owner to authenticate with a finger or thumb on both the left and right hand if desired.

Federighi added that Face ID could eventually authenticate multiple faces as the system evolves in the future, but his email makes it clear that Apple doesn't have any immediate plans to implement said functionality.

MacRumors since publishing this article has received full headers that verify this email, originally shared on Reddit. We can confirm the email originates from Apple's servers at its headquarters in Cupertino, California.

A screenshot of Craig Federighi's alleged email response to a customer

Apple says Face ID has a one in 1,000,000 chance of a false match, compared to one in 50,000 for Touch ID, although the probability is higher among identical twins, siblings who look alike, and children.

Vietnamese security firm Bkav has also been able to spoof Face ID twice with 3D printed masks, but the steps involved are quite complex and this isn't something the average user should be very concerned about.

In practical, real-world usage, Face ID has proved to be very secure and reliable. But, at least for now, it appears that iPhone X owners won't be able to extend this convenience to their trusted family members or friends.



Top Rated Comments

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20 weeks ago

Touch ID was never intended for multiple users? That's B.S. They built Touch ID to support five fingers. Who is going to register five of their own fingers for Touch ID?!


I registered 4 out of 10 of mine. Both thumbs and both pointing fingers.
Rating: 41 Votes
20 weeks ago
If that’s the case then can Craig please explain why Touch ID is used to switch user accounts on the MacBook with touchbar?
Rating: 33 Votes
20 weeks ago
yea it's tough entering those 4 numbers
Rating: 27 Votes
20 weeks ago

Touch ID was never intended for multiple users? That's B.S. They built Touch ID to support five fingers. Who is going to register five of their own fingers for Touch ID?!

If that was a real question - I guess you mean me? I have had four different fingers registered since I first started using a 5s. Fifth position is for my nose. (Yes, my nose), when I have my furry gloves on. :D
Rating: 26 Votes
20 weeks ago

Touch ID was never intended for multiple users? That's B.S. They built Touch ID to support five fingers. Who is going to register five of their own fingers for Touch ID?!


Somebody with more than four fingers, I'd imagine. That about covers most of Apple's customers.

Up to five fingers. They gave the option. It wasn't mandatory to register five and it doesn't imply it was meant for multiple users.

If humans had three heads, I imagine Face ID would also support multiple faces, but not for the intended purpose of being used by multiple users.
Rating: 25 Votes
20 weeks ago
Sort of explains why iPad still has no user managing in the year 2017. PC replacement my ass
Rating: 20 Votes
20 weeks ago
I much prefer Touch ID for managing and accessing my kids devices. I'd hate to have to enter a passcode every time I needed to get into one of their phones.
Rating: 19 Votes
20 weeks ago
Apple's way or the highway. I guess this is the price we pay for a closed garden. I'm not unhappy with iOS, the platform or the hardware but I do wished apple would be a little more open minded in how people actually use their phones.
Rating: 15 Votes
20 weeks ago
Easy. Just marry your twin.
#justalabamathings
Rating: 14 Votes
20 weeks ago

Lmaooo is this guy serious? Give me a break. What does he do that he needs such a long complex passcode?

And why doesn’t he just disable attention awareness and his wife can just hold the phone towards his face to unlock it.

This is such a nonissue it’s hilarious. How many times do they REALLY need to get into each other’s phone? Might as well share a phone number and iCloud account too.


Are you married? There are multiple times where my wife and I are using each others phones. She's busy doing something and asks me to respond to a text. I'm driving and have her respond or do something on my phone. It happens all the time.

What I don't get is everyone understands the convenience of not entering a passcode and using face id, yet few don't want to accept the convenience that adding this feature would be for others that obviously utilize it. Which way seems more convenient, adding multiple people on face ID or requiring everyone else to know and enter a passcode? They could even do something that tracks when a face was last used so you aren't giving someone else root access to change critical features without the passcode, but they do have access to open your phone.
Rating: 14 Votes

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