iPhoneX Face ID

Apple’s Next-Gen Face ID

Apple made a bold move with its new design with the iPhone X. However, the most revolutionary aspect of this next-gen phone is the new user authentication system - Face ID. In essence, Face ID scans the user’s face to verify identity of the person. Apple took a huge leap as it stepped away from the more conventional Fingerprint scanner.

The new design of the iPhone X was Apple’s response to its competitors’ larger screen to body ratio. With its screen to body ratio of 82.9%, it is a big step up from the 67.7% screen to body ratio of earlier designs. However, the new screen isn’t the most controversial part of this phone.

Up until now, all IPhones and most other smartphones have been using fingerprint scanners as their primary security systems. Touch ID (Apple’s Fingerprint scanner) has become a staple on all of its phones and has worked effectively for years. However, Apple wants to take the security game to the next level. There are many reasons for why Apple ditched Touch ID, and replaced it with Face ID. Among them are better security, more screen to work with, and setting a new trend.

Anyone who owns a smartphone with a fingerprint sensor knows that it is highly unlikely, if not impossible, for someone else to unlock their phone. Apple’s Face ID has a failure rate of 1 in 1,000,000, which is 20 times more secure than its predecessor. This is because the Face ID system has more points and details to reference when scanning at a face than when scanning a fingerprint.

Face ID Process

The way any biometric security system works is by projecting points and essentially taking a picture of the scanned object and comparing it with pre saved images. If it’s a match, the user is authenticated and granted access. Fingerprint scanning, as mentioned before, is secure, but does not have as many points of reference to scan as facial recognition. And even in the world of facial recognition technology, Apple’s Face ID comes out on top. While Samsung’s and One Plus’s biometric systems can be fooled by photos, Apple’s Face ID uses 3D modelling technology that can distinguish between real and fake images. This system is so secure that Apple boldly removed Touch ID; the same cannot be said for Samsung and One Plus. But, as we all know, no technology is perfect. Apple’s Face ID still has a ways to go. There have been instances of Face ID not working in direct sunlight and being inconsistent at times. And although Face ID does learn to change as you change, large sunglasses or any other accessories that may block a large portion of your face will result in a failure to authenticate. Another issue is the inconvenience of taking your phone out and looking at it instead of just placing your finger on the scanner as you are whipping your phone out. Touch ID is faster, no doubt. While it took around 1.2 seconds for Face ID to unlock your phone, it only took Touch ID 0.9 seconds. A 0.3 second difference might not seem like much, but it is noticeable.

This technology is still in its early stages and will receive incremental updates and improvements over the next few years. When Touch ID was first released, it wasn’t even close to how fast Touch ID is now. This just goes to show how technology is always improving and constantly changing. And for a first generation biometric system, Face ID is doing brilliantly. Apple’s Face ID, just like the device it was built into, is an experiment that has outperformed itself and left its competition in the dust.

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Vishnu Akundi

Vishnu Akundi is a junior at Abbey Park High School in Toronto, Canada. He is an avid tech enthusiast and is always up to date on the news. He is interested in pursuing chemical engineering.