Craig Federighi Talks Face ID Security and Features in New Interview

Craig Federighi, Apple’s chief of software engineering, discussed Face ID in a telephone interview Friday with TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino. He assuaged worries that Apple’s facial detection technology won’t work as advertised while addressing some of the lingering questions surrounding the already-controversial feature.

The interviewer, Matthew Panzarino, has said that he’s heard Face ID is “very fast” and “incredibly reliable,” and he made a quick bullet point list to note a few key details:
  • If you haven’t used Face ID in 48 hours, or if you’ve just rebooted, it will ask for a passcode.
  • If there are 5 failed attempts to Face ID, it will default back to passcode. (Federighi has confirmed that this is what happened in the demo onstage when he was asked for a passcode — it tried to read the people setting the phones up on the podium.)
  • Developers do not have access to raw sensor data from the Face ID array. Instead, they’re given a depth map they can use for applications like the Snap face filters shown onstage. This can also be used in ARKit applications.
  • You’ll also get a passcode request if you haven’t unlocked the phone using a passcode or at all in 6.5 days and if Face ID hasn’t unlocked it in 4 hours.
Specifically, he said, Face ID needs to see your eyes, nose and mouth to work. While hats, scarves and other accessories that might obscure your face are not enough to throw Face ID off, there are specific cases where the passcode is a better choice than Face ID:
If you’re a surgeon or someone who wears a garment that covers your face, it’s not going to work. But if you’re wearing a helmet or scarf it works quite well.
The comment suggests that Face ID may not be the best solution in some Muslim countries where women are not allowed to show their face in public and have to wear a niqab (a separate piece of clothing that just covers their face and head).

According to Federighi, most sunglasses on the market will work just fine with Face ID because they let through infrared light even if they appear to be opaque.

You can use Face ID without needing to stare directly at the phone with your eyes open, if you like, by disabling Attention Awareness in Settings. Doing so will decrease your overall security because the system will no longer be able to ensure your eyes are directly focused on the phone.
You can turn off attention detection as a user. There’s some compromise to detection there—but if you have a condition where you can’t look at it, that’s the choice you have. And if you don’t want to use the Face ID feature at all, you can turn it off.
What about tricky scenarios, like being stopped by the police or if a thief forces you to hand over your device? If that happens, just don’t stare at the display and remember to hold the Side and Volume buttons simultaneously which will temporarily disable Face ID.
 On older phones, the sequence was to click five times on the Power button. On newer phones like iPhone 8 and iPhone X, if you grip either volume button plus the Side button and hold them a little while—we’ll take you to the power down screen.But that also has the effect of disabling Face ID.So, if you were in a case where the thief was asking to hand over your phone—you can just reach into your pocket, squeeze it and it will disable Face ID. It will do the same thing on iPhone 8 to disable Touch ID.
 So what do you think ?


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