What You Need to Know About Face ID

This smartphone technology could one day replace Touch ID.

You’ve probably heard of Touch ID – Apple’s fingerprint recognition feature – but what’s Face ID? Debuting on the iPhone X, Face ID is a facial recognition system designed by Apple. Here, we dive into this authentication technology, which could soon replace Touch ID.

Hand holding an iPhone against dark background.

How does Face ID work?

Face ID is one of the coolest, albeit most complicated, technologies around. It all starts with the TrueDepth camera system. To capture precise face data, the camera projects and analyzes more than 30,000 invisible dots, creating a depth map and attaining an infrared image of your face. Then, a portion of the processor, known as the neural engine, takes that depth map and infrared image and compares them to the stored mathematical representation in the enrolled facial data.

If you’re wondering how secure Face ID is, don’t worry. Apple has assured consumers that the technology cannot be fooled by high-end masks, printed photos of a face, or videos of a face. In fact, Apple claims that the risk of a random face unlocking your phone is one in 1 million.

When is Face ID used?

Face ID can be used for more than just unlocking your phone. Use it to authorize purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks store, as well as Apple Pay payments.

There are many times when your iPhone may prompt you to authenticate using Face ID. The most common reason is to unlock your phone. Instead of touching your finger on a scanner or inputting a pin, you can simply look at your iPhone to securely unlock it.

Woman’s face behind small circles of bright light.

Phones with the face recognition feature do more than just simplify unlocking. You can also use Face ID to authorize purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks store, as well as payments made with Apple Pay. Certain app developers also let you sign into their apps using this authentication technology.

What if I change my look?

Have you trimmed your hair or applied makeup? No worries – Face ID can automatically adapt to changes in your appearance. It’s also been designed to work with glasses, contact lenses, scarves, hats, and a variety of sunglasses. Indoors, outdoors, or total darkness? Yep, Face ID will work with almost any environment. Still, if you significantly change your appearance, like shaving a full beard, you may want to update your face data for a seamless experience.

Shop the latest smartphones to find an iPhone that uses Face ID, and make sure to pick up a Straight Talk service plan to go with your new Apple device to stay connected with friends, family, and all your favorite online content