What is Face ID?

Face ID: The new way to unlock your iPhone X

Apple’s trio of new iPhones are now official. The iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X were all unveiled during a keynote presentation at the new Steve Jobs Theatre in Cupertino.

Showing off three phones at once is unusual for Apple and it has also skipped the usual ‘S’ update altogether, which is another oddity. But the biggest ‘WTF’ moment from the launch was the revelation that Apple’s super-exclusive iPhone X won’t come with the iconic Touch ID enabled Home button.

Instead, Apple is using a new feature called ‘Face ID’ which replaces your thumb with your face.

 

What is Face ID and how does it work?

Due to the new edge-to-edge display on the iPhone X, there isn’t enough room on the front of the phone for the home button that has so far sat below the display on every previous iPhone.

Instead, there’s a new TrueDepth front-facing camera and infrared sensor that can scan your face. This isn’t entirely new for smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S8 has a similar feature and even an iris scanner, but it’s the first time Apple has utilised something like this.

Related: iPhone 8 vs iPhone 7

It seems like setting up Face ID is very similar to the Touch ID setup process. Just head into Settings and then security. The camera and infrared sensor will scan your face as you move around. It’ll work with glasses, and even if you have hats and scarves on, according to Apple.

You will of course have to setup a pin-code too.

Like Touch ID, Face ID isn’t just for unlocking your phone. It can also be used to authenticate purchases from iTunes and we assume devs will be able to build it into their apps. You’ll also be able to use it for authenticating payments. 

Is Face ID secure?

Apple says it is. It says your face data is stored in the protected enclave inside the A11 Bionic chip, and not sent anywhere else. It also claims you’ll have to move your face before it’ll unlock, meaning you won’t be able to fool it with a photo of someone.

Which phones have Face ID?

Face ID is a headline feature on the iPhone X, which is set to be available to pre-order on October 27 and for purchase on November 3. It’ll start at $999.

Touch ID vs Face ID: Is Touch ID dead?

No, not yet at least. Both the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus still have Touch ID and of course the latest iPads have it too. We’ll have to see what Apple decides to do next year to see whether or not the fingerprint sensor will stick around.