They’ve got the notch, so does that mean they have Face ID?
Do MacBooks have Face ID? That’s a question a lot of people have been asking lately.
Apple has now transitioned its entire MacBook line to its own chipset. Called Apple Silicon, though better known as the M-series chip, the MacBook Air and all MacBook Pros now have some type of M-series chipset.
For the 13in MacBook Air and MacBook Pro now both come with the M1 chip (as does the latest iPad Pro series). And as of October 2021, the MacBook Pro series – the news 14in model and the 16in model – also have the M-series chipset, though they feature more powerful M chips: the M1 Pro and the M1 Max.
But the new MacBook Pros also feature something else: a notch. Yes, no joke, Apple has brought the iPhone’s notch to the MacBook Pro lineup – and it’s a good bet that all MacBooks introduced from here on out will have the notch as well.
But that notch now has a lot of people asking if the new MacBook Pros come with Face ID. Here’s why…
The iPhone And The Notch
Apple first introduced the notched iPhone design with the iPhone X in 2017. The notch was ridiculed by some, but there was an engineering reason for it – it wasn’t solely a design choice. The notch on the iPhone is where the TrueDepth camera system is housed.
The TrueDepth camera system houses the components that allow the iPhone to scan your face – in other words, it’s what enabled Face ID on the iPhone. Apple needed the notch for the Face ID camera system because technical limitations mean it couldn’t be hidden behind the display.
The notch has been on every new iPhone since the iPhone X (with the exception of the iPhone SE). Some people still loath it, but it can’t be denied Face ID is the best biometrics authentication system on any smartphone. And most people don’t even mind (or notice) the notch.
The MacBook Pro And The Notch
It was a surprise when Apple brought the notch to the new MacBook Pros. Pretty much no one saw that coming. And it’s understandable that since the notch is so synonyms with Face ID that one would assume a notch on any Apple product means that Apple product has Face ID.
But that’s not the case with the 2021 MacBook Pros. Yes, they have the notch – but the notch isn’t for Face ID. Instead, the notch is simply there for the regular webcam – a 1080p webcam.
But Why Have A Notch With No Face ID?
One may wonder if the MacBook Pro has no Face ID, why is the notch necessary? After all, previous MacBooks had webcams and those Macs had no notch.
The reason is that Apple drastically reduced the bezels on the new MacBook Pros, and due to that, the screen now extends to an area of the laptop that was normally reserved for the bezel and the area where the webcam is. In other words, if Apple wanted to keep the webcam, they needed a notch.
But if the MacBook Pro now needs a notch to house the webcam, why didn’t Apple just add Face ID?
Apple is probably planning for Face ID on the MacBook line eventually, but right now there is one big physical limitation: MacBook screens/lids are about 4mm thick, which is thinner than the thickness of the Face ID TrueDepth camera components. In other words, the MacBook’s lid is too thin to house Face ID – well unless you want a notch and a camera bump on back.
Face ID can fit into the iPhone because iPhones are over 7mm thick – almost twice as thick as the lid on a MacBook Pro.
However, the new MacBook Pros do have Touch ID, just like the iPhones of old.
Do MacBooks Have Face ID?
Nope. But some do have a notch, which houses a standard webcam.
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.