When Apple originally announced Face ID for the iPhone X armchair pundits were up in arms about it. Many thought it was going to be inferior to the beloved Touch ID. Many thought there was no way Face ID could be better than the primitive facial recognition systems some Android phones had tried. And many even thought they were so important people would try to Mission Impossible them with a mask to gain access to their iPhone.
But Face ID turned out to be a hit. It was both faster and more accurate than Touch ID. Matter of fact, Touch ID had a false-positive (that is, how often an iPhone would unlock with someone else fingerprint than the owner’s) rate of 1 in 50,000. Face ID improved that false-positive rate to 1 in 1,000,000–a twenty-fold increase.
Face ID proved to be so successful, Apple has rolled it out to its newest phones, the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR. If you’ve picked up any of these beauties here are all the Face ID tips you need to know.
1. Turn Off Face ID’s “Required Attention”
There were plenty of fears that Face ID wouldn’t be as good or secure as Touch ID. Now we know those fears were unfounded. Face ID is amazing. By default, Face ID will only work if you are “attentive” – in other words, if your eyes are open and looking at the iPhone X. This is a security feature so people can’t hold your iPhone X to your sleeping face to unlock the device. However, you can turn the attentive requirement off if you want. To do that go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode > and Turn off “Require Attention for Face ID”.
2. Dim Your Screen When Not Looking At It
Related to the feature above, since the iPhone XS and XR know when you are looking at your display or not, it has the ability to instantly dim your screen the second you look away from it and it also automatically returns the brightness to your standard settings once you look at your screen again. This is great for saving battery life.
3. Face ID Now Supports 2 Faces
Go to Settings>Face ID & Passcode and you’ll see you now have the option to set up an “alternate appearance.” This means a second face–or another version of your face (say after you shave your beard off). This feature is great for couples who use the same phone–now each of them can log in using their face.
4. Face ID Rescanning
Before, if the iPhone X failed to register your face to unlock it, you would need to press the power button twice to bring up the Face ID authentication again. Now in iOS 12, you can simply swipe up on the bottom of the lock screen to try Face ID again.
5. Quickly Disable Face ID
Depending on where you live, the police may be able to legally insist you unlock your smartphone on the spot via its facial recognition features. For some reason, facial biometrics aren’t protected in the way fingerprints and passcodes are in some localities. That’s why Apple has built in a feature that lets you quickly disable Face ID in a pinch without going into your settings. Just press the side button five times and Face ID will be disabled and you’ll need to enter your passcode instead to gain access to your phone.
6. Control What Face ID Unlocks
Face ID replaces the way you unlock your iPhone. Now you simply look at the device instead of placing your finger on the now-gone Home button. But Face ID can also be used to make purchases in the App Store and in apps, authenticate Apple Pay payments, and autofill forms in Safari. However, you don’t need to allow Face ID to do all of these things if you don’t want. You can toggle each Face ID feature on or off by going to Settings > Face ID & Passcode.