Face ID, the facial recognition technology created by Apple, was first launched with the iPhone X in 2017.
This new phone unlocking technology replaced the earlier Touch ID function, which used a fingerprint scanning system.
Apple Face ID technology uses a “TrueDepth camera system” composed of sensors, dot projectors, and cameras to create a 3D map (or mathematical representation) of the user’s face.
The phone’s recognition of the user’s face can then be used to unlock their phone, or allow them to make quick transactions via Apple Pay.
This revolutionary use of biometric technology in phone security set a new and exciting standard in the modern-day market.
But the question today is: Does Face ID get better over time?
Many iPhone users have raised concerns about the effectiveness of the innovative technology, as they at times found themselves unable to unlock their phones on the first attempt.
Users found that their phones were unable to recognize their faces, and had to try several times before they were successful.
Questions were raised over the accuracy of the technology and whether this recognition would improve over time.
The good news is: That face ID does usually get better over time! And it doesn’t typically take that long either for it to improve, as the machine learning adapts with every successful use.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look into why Face ID doesn’t work 100% of the time, as well as whether you can expect it to get better as the months go by!
Why Does Face ID Only Work Sometimes?
Apple has assured many worried customers that Face ID has been designed to adapt to the faces of users over time.
The device’s inbuilt sensors and projectors collect data about the user’s face each time it is used and subsequently uses that data to create adjusted 3D maps according to any newly detected changes.
When this development occurs, users may find that they fail to unlock their phone initially, only to succeed without issue when they try again.
How does this happen?
As Face ID recognition capabilities improve over time, the data collected is constantly refined and updated.
When the technology becomes more familiar with the nuances of your face, unlocking your phone becomes an increasingly smooth process.
Every time you successfully unlock your phone, the facial recognition data on the device develops a better match with your appearance.
Subsequent unlocking of the phone with Face ID then becomes an improved and quicker process.
So, even if it may seem inconsistent initially, users can be confident that Face ID has been designed to improve through continued usage, and that it will eventually become a seamless and effective security system for their phone.
So, Does iPhone Face ID Improve Over Time?
Over time, you will find that the amount of face recognition failures you experience will decrease as the neural engine updates your face data.
The more that you use your phone, the quicker this process will occur.
Those who use their phone very regularly may experience a marked improvement within the span of just a few weeks.
If you tend to use your phone less often, then this improvement will be a slower process.
The way you handle and position your phone can also affect the success of Face ID.
If you hold the phone either too close or too far away from your face, the device will have trouble reconciling you with the data already saved.
Likewise, if you are trying to unlock your phone while you have trembling hands, are traveling in a shaky vehicle, or making quick hurried movements, the recognition technology will find it difficult to get an exact read.
So, if you have just begun using Face ID- or have recently upgraded to the iPhone X, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS, or the iPhone XR– you should be prepared to have a little bit of patience as the device becomes more familiar with your face.
However, if you find yourself in the potentially embarrassing position of holding up a line in a store as you try to authenticate your payment whilst disgruntled customers grumble behind you, there is a workaround!
If you know that you will soon need to use the Face ID technology and have previously had problems with being recognized, you can prepare by creating a “pre-scan” of your face ahead of time.
You can do this by double-tapping the side button of the iPhone. Then, once you need to authenticate your payment, tap the device to the NFC sensor to complete the payment.
How Can I Improve My Face ID?
One way to improve your facial recognition on Face ID is to practice raising your phone to the best position and angle when you need to unlock it.
This may take a few attempts as you discover what the best angle through trial and error is.
Practice unlocking the phone several times so that the process becomes second nature when you really need it to.
Doing this regularly when you first receive your phone will save you wasted time later, as you are giving the recognition technology more time to survey and create an ever-improved internal model of your face.
The more information the technology has, the quicker it will improve.
As an added bonus, you will also become more well-practiced in automatically raising your phone to the correct alignment with your phone when needed!
How Secure Is Face ID?
Face ID technology captures and stores an incredible amount of detail and data about your face.
The specificity of this information creates an extremely effective security measure against those attempting to break into your phone.
The level of detail in the 3D map created is of a much more advanced depth than that of 2D images.
So, it is essentially impossible for anyone to easily impersonate you and gain access to your device with something like a photo or screenshot.
The risk of fraudulent payments and thieves accessing your information and data is therefore greatly decreased.
Apple has also developed Face ID to be attention aware.
The technology is able to detect if your eyes are open or closed, and this makes it similarly impossible for others to access your device by placing the phone in front of you while you are sleeping.
Why You May Be Asked To Use A Passcode With Face ID
Although you have a Face ID, you will also need to set up a passcode on your iPhone for another layer of security validation. This will be used when:
- The iPhone has been rebooted, or you have simply restarted the device.
- You have not unlocked your iPhone for over 48 hours.
- You have not used the passcode to unlock the phone in the past six days, and your Face ID has not been used in the past 4 hours to unlock the iPhone.
- You have not given a remote lock command to the iPhone.
- Your device has failed to unlock after five attempts.
- You initiate powering off.
- You have sent an Emergency SOS.
In all of the above cases, the iPhone will need to authenticate the user by using dual security measures.
Therefore, there’s no need to panic if the phone asks you to use passcode authentication alongside your Face ID!
So, if you have just bought yourself a brand-new iPhone and have found that the Face ID function is causing you trouble and is far from smooth, you can rest assured that this is unlikely to be a fault with your device.
Face ID will need some time to become accustomed to your face, and you will likewise need some time to become accustomed to using the technology.
Both aspects will improve over time, and you will find unlocking your phone to eventually be a quick and straightforward process!
Keep in mind these key points if you are worried about the Face ID technology on your iPhone:
- The cameras and sensors need some time to get accustomed to the nuances of your facial features.
- TrueDepth technology improves over time.
- Each time you use the technology, more data is collected and matched for better results the next time around.
- The device captures a new infrared image with every successful unlocking.
- Keep trying to unlock the phone using new positions, in order to discover the best angles for the future!
Once your phone gets to know your face, it will take hardly any time at all for the device to unlock.
You’ll definitely begin to notice the speed and ease with which you can use your phone as you go about your day!
Apple has been the dominant pioneer of the mobile tech world for the past two decades. Learn more about what makes their iPhone an icon not just in the present day, but for the ages to come as well!