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Code in iOS 12.1 Update Hints at Landscape Face ID Support for Upcoming iPad Pro Models

Code in the iOS 12.1 beta released this morning suggests Face ID has built-in support for landscape orientation, according to information shared by developer Steven Troughton-Smith.

A rendering of the upcoming iPad Pro said to be based on leaked CAD drawings

According to Troughton-Smith, landscape support for Face ID has likely been built into the update for upcoming iPad Pro models that are expected to offer Face ID.


Troughton-Smith says that landscape Face ID requires a different alignment for the front-facing sensors of the TrueDepth camera system, which is why it won't be available for iPhone models that have Face ID.


Previous iPad rumors have also suggested Apple would introduce Face ID support for landscape orientation specifically for the new iPad Pro models, because being able to unlock only in portrait mode would be inconvenient with a larger tablet form factor that's most often used in a horizontal orientation.

Right now, Face ID on the iPhone X and the new iPhone XS and XS Max devices works only in portrait mode, with the devices unable to recognize a face when held in landscape mode.

There has been some confusion over how Apple will implement Face ID in the iPad Pro models, though, as some rumors have pointed towards the inclusion of a new mystery port that's supposedly a Smart Connector located at the back of the device in leaked cases and CAD drawings.

A rendering of the upcoming iPad Pro said to be based on leaked CAD drawings

According to Japanese site Mac Otakara, which has somewhat of a mixed track record when it comes to rumors, the Smart Connector allegedly works with a new vertically oriented Smart Keyboard. Mac Otakara believes Face ID in the iPad Pro will work only in vertical orientation, but both today's information and prior hints of horizontal Face ID support suggest that's inaccurate.

Troughton-Smith shared a few other tidbits he found in the beta. There appears to be code to support an upcoming change to MFi game controllers that will offer up compatibility with clickable thumb sticks, and iOS 12.1 "seems to care a lot more about whether an external display is connected," which could be related to rumors of a switch from Lightning to USB-C.

Apple's iPad Pro models are rumored to feature edge-to-edge displays with no Home button, no headphone jack, and a USB-C port instead of a Lightning port. We're expecting Apple to introduce the new iPad Pros before the end of the year, perhaps at an upcoming event in October.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, iOS 12


Top Rated Comments

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12 weeks ago
Calling it now:



Rating: 30 Votes
12 weeks ago
It will take a lot of courage for Apple to put a USB-C port on it.
Rating: 25 Votes
12 weeks ago

Armchair engineer, don't you think Apple would have been doing just that if it's that easy.


Right, like they couldn't engineer the X MAX last year? They held off on the bigger screen so people would have something to upgrade to. I'm a marketer, and Apple is a marketing company.
Rating: 21 Votes
12 weeks ago
Not being possible with the existing iPhone X hardware doesn't make sense to me... It's infrared light, dot projector, and infrared camera, all operating in flood/wide-angle. The field of effectiveness seems broad enough to work in landscape. What exactly would need realignment that couldn't simply be accounted for in software?
Rating: 14 Votes
12 weeks ago

Hardware that they clearly could have included in the XS, XS Max, and the XR.


Armchair engineer, don't you think Apple would have been doing just that if it's that easy.
Rating: 13 Votes
12 weeks ago
Apple already has my money for one of these.

I just haven’t told my ancient iPad Air yet.
Rating: 11 Votes
12 weeks ago

Cue the complaints that it won't be available on the iPhone, despite as noted, it would require new hardware to do so.


Hardware that they clearly could have included in the XS, XS Max, and the XR.
Rating: 10 Votes
12 weeks ago

Right, like they couldn't engineer the X MAX last year? They held off on the bigger screen so people would have something to upgrade to. I'm a marketer, and Apple is a marketing company.


Right, not an engineer.
Rating: 10 Votes
12 weeks ago
It's nice to see Apple will be solving problems resulting from the "solution" they created to solve a problem nobody had in the first place (the entire misguided notion to create Face ID).
Rating: 8 Votes
12 weeks ago
I think external monitor support is much bigger than people here are caring for. Maybe added mouse and keyboard support can make this a better desktop alternative? I’m truly excited if it could support a ultrafine monitor
Rating: 7 Votes

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