When the consumer floodgates open on October 27, the commencement of pre-orders for iPhone X (pronounced as iPhone 10), you can just imagine how rabid Apple aficionados will be as they place their orders, as they do when they ask the question, “can you write my paper?”
As per Apple, iPhone X will boast Super Retina HD display, a full-screen display like that of Galaxy Note 8’s, 3D Touch, a vastly improved iOS 11, and Face ID feature powered by TrueDepth camera for facial recognition.
For phone enthusiasts, this could be enough reasons for them to shell out $999 for full payment of an iPhone X, or $1,149.00 for a 2-year installment.
Of all the improvements and additions that the iPhone series had for almost a decade, the most intriguing would be the Face ID for iPhone X.
Really? A security measure that utilizes a person’s facial features like jaw lines, eyebrows, or retina color? Is that safe and effective enough?
All these questions will be answered by perusing its upsides and drawbacks below.
Upside #1: Every user’s Face ID is fully encrypted
There has long been a concern about app companies other than Apple possibly storing iPhone X users’ facial information for security breaches and system hacking.
That concern though has been relieved, thanks to the fact that Face ID doesn’t actually store your facial info on the System Enclave. Instead, iPhone X encrypts it into a mathematical representation that’s unrecognizable for data thieves.
The Face ID system will compare that stored representation to the one which you previously took when logging in to a third-party app. If that matches, the system will let you in, without any of it being available to Apple or the app developer itself.
Upside #2: Your passcode will remain significant
The common misconception by uninformed spectators is that one’s iPhone passcode will be obsolete once Face ID is implemented.
However, it will remain as an important fallback security measure at the end of the day.
Here are 5 instances where the passcode will still be required:
- Moments after the device has been restarted or turned on.
- iPhone X hasn’t been unlocked for more than 2 days (48 hours).
- If Face ID hasn’t unlocked the phone for the 4 hours past, and it’s been 156 hours since the passcode was used to unlock it.
- Remote lock command was activated by the user from afar.
- After 5 failed facial recognition attempts
You see, if your device was stolen or went missing, the thief or retriever will find it harder to unlock your iPhone X, because now it requires two authentication factors: your face and your passcode.
Instead of abolishing passcodes, Apple did a really great job of using passcodes as additional layers of security.
Upside #3: Automatically updates and foolproof
The mathematical representation of your Face ID entry changes as your face does. For instance, if you got a new pair of glasses, or trimmed your eyebrows, you’ll be compelled to enter your passcode, since Face ID may fail to recognize you.
It’ll then alert the system that it was really you, and update those little details in the encrypted representation.
Meanwhile, in movies and TV series, biometrics are often tricked by wearing masks or putting photos of people’s irises on the scanner.
But since Face ID operates using 3D information instead of a two-dimensional one, it becomes twice as hard to fool it.
The odds of a random individual unlocking your phone using his face is just one in a million, which is substantially less than that of fingerprint (touch) technologies (1 in 50,000).
Drawback #1: Not suited for kids under 13 and folks with identical twins
One dampener for an otherwise awesome feature is that kids won’t find it very beneficial. Since children under 13 are still developing their facial features, it would be a great drag for them if they’ll be locked out of their phones because of inconsistency in their facial entries.
Meanwhile, if you have a twin whose facial features closely resembles that of yours, you may opt to just revert to your traditional passcode, especially if that individual isn’t that trustworthy.
Drawback #2: Won’t be beneficial for you in court investigations
It’s been said by Senior VP Craig Federighi in an email that pressing both side buttons of the iPhone X when you surrender it to authorities “will temporarily disable Face ID.”
However, policemen won’t wait for you to gently toss your phone over. They’ll pin you down, and will grab away your phone in a heartbeat.
Unfortunately, taking your biometrics and facial print are enforceable in the rule of court. Had you just settled for a traditional passcode (which can’t be taken against your will), you could’ve exercised your right to privacy.
Drawback #3: Actually, everyone knows your password
With Face ID, your face is your password. If you’re a high-profile individual who has inferior physical security, then you’re likely to be forced by criminals to give up that facial entry with extreme measures.
If writing a passcode on a piece of paper is already detrimental, then having your face displayed on a massive crowd can imply some hazards too.
iPhone X’s Face ID feature has that futuristic vibe, that’s why a lot of people covet it even if it isn’t being sold yet. But again, for every amazing feature comes loopholes too. Only time will tell if that said feature will live up to the hype.