Apple’s iPhone X is the first to feature Face ID as a replacement for Touch ID, and that means that while those with the new smartphone report that the security feature works well, there are still things we continue to learn about it.
One of those things may actually improve the way Face ID works, and if you have found that your face is not recognized as often as you might like, this is something you really need to know.
According to a white paper published by Apple covering Face ID security, the new feature actually learns from its mistakes. That is, if it fails to recognize a face, users can tell iOS that it needs to use the experience to learn how to better recognize its user. It all comes down to training Face ID by entering your Passcode. Sounds counterintuitive, right? Well, not so much.
According to Apple, when Face ID fails and a user enters their Passcode, iOS will learn and take a new snapshot of the person in front of the TrueDepth camera. Over time, this will teach Face ID to be better at recognizing the user, reducing the number of errors. It may not be magic, but it’s a pretty good example of how AI can be used for things other than overthrowing mankind.
To improve unlock performance and keep pace with the natural changes of your face and look, Face ID augments its stored mathematical representation over time. Upon successful unlock, Face ID may use the newly calculated mathematical representation—if its quality is sufficient—for a finite number of additional unlocks before that data is discarded.
Conversely, if Face ID fails to recognize you, but the match quality is higher than a certain threshold and you immediately follow the failure by entering your passcode, Face ID takes another capture and augments its enrolled Face ID data with the newly calculated mathematical representation. This new Face ID data is discarded after a finite number of unlocks and if you stop matching against it. These augmentation processes allow Face ID to keep up with dramatic changes in your facial hair or makeup use, while minimizing false acceptance.
We can’t help but think that Apple should make this more obvious, because it may just be the coolest thing we’ve read about Face ID yet.
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