iOS 12 Allows for Multiple Face ID Users on a Single iPhone X

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The iOS 12 beta appears to support adding a second face to the Face ID feature, allowing a second person to unlock an iPhone X without entering the passcode. This was discovered and later confirmed by multiple users on Reddit.

Ever since the iPhone X was released last September, Apple's Face ID authentication system has been restricted to recognizing a single person's face to unlock the iPhone X. Though iOS is ostensibly designed as a single-user operating system, this restriction has frustrated some users who wish to allow their partner or other family member to unlock their phone for convenience and sharing purposes.


This is possible under the old Touch ID system, which has been around for nearly half-a-decade, because Touch ID allows up to five fingerprints to unlock the iPhone — so it's easy to allow your partner's thumbprint to your iPhone.

With iOS 12, an "Alternative Appearance" mode in Face ID allows iPhone X owners to add an entire second face to Face ID. This means two people can unlock an iPhone X, potentially making it easier for users to share their devices.

The feature doesn't appear to be intended for this purpose. In iOS Settings > Face ID & Passcode, Alternative Appearance is described thusly:

In addition to continuously learning how you look, Face ID can recognize an alternate appearance.

It's likely that Alternative Appearance is designed for people who have difficulty with Face ID because of more significant changes in appearance due to changing wardrobes like glasses or hats — but it has the happy coincidence of supporting a second person as well.

One thing to note is that if Face ID is reset for one "Appearance", it will also reset the other, meaning both users will have to start from scratch with Face ID if the system is reset.

We have reached out to Apple for clarity on what this feature is intended for and whether the side-effect of support for multiple users is expected to continue through the final release of iOS 12 this fall.

Top Rated Comments

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31 months ago

This is great, but I still need a way to prevent my kids from accessing my iMessages or mail app.

Is that a thing?

Yeah, don't let your kids use your phone.

Or if you do, enable Guided Access so they can't get out of the app they're currently in.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
Nice to know my ex can get one now... that 2 faced ....:p
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
While it’s true that  has decided to allow an iPhone with FaceID to be unlocked with a 2nd face, that face has already been pre-selected to be that of Jeff Sessions.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
I’d love to see multiple user accounts available on iOS. One iPad, for two kids.
Guessing Apple prefers the “one iPad for one person” business model more. :p
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago

This is great, but I still need a way to prevent my kids from accessing my iMessages or mail app.

Is that a thing?

Unfortunately not. Just stupid. Like Photos app having a hidden folder without even having to scroll to see it. May as well call it LOOK AT MEEEEEEE
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
This is great, but I still need a way to prevent my kids from accessing my iMessages or mail app.

Is that a thing?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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