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The idea of locking your phone up using such sensitive information as your facial features might feel a little unsafe. Where is the data on your face ID stored? Does it actually help you keep your iPhone secure? Does using Face ID mean you’re now part of a facial recognition database? Is Face ID safe to use?
Face ID has been touted by Apple as the best biometric security measure you can use. It’s easy too, as you don’t need to remember anything to simply look into a camera.
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There is, of course, the option to add a passcode to your phone (and it’s required to use one even if you enable Face ID, just in case it doesn’t work), so how much more secure is Face ID compared to that?
The truth is, you don’t need to be overly worried about using the feature, and here’s why.How Apple Stores Your Face ID
The data created on your face when you first make your Face ID never actually leaves your iPhone. It’s definitely not added to any databases, stored in a server, or sent anywhere else. Instead, it’s kept in a processor on your iPhone, separate from the main processor, called the SEP, or secure enclave processor.
Furthermore, an actual representation of your face isn’t actually saved (such as a picture or 3D model) but instead the mathematical data of your Face ID is stored to memory. So, if someone was somehow able to get into this SEP, they wouldn’t see your actual face, just the numbers that represent it.
The main iPhone processor never obtains this data, it only recognizes whether or not the SEP says your face matches the data stored there. So, now that you know your face is safe, you might wonder how secure using the feature actually is.How Secure Is Face ID?
As far as actually keeping your phone locked up, is Face ID a better option than just a passcode? Face ID, as well as Touch ID, the other biometric security method Apple has used for older devices, have been shown to be pretty tough to crack.
The issue comes if someone were to go to some length to create fake versions of your face in a 3D model in order to get into your phone. And once your identity has been compromised in this way, you wouldn’t really be able to go back to using your face as a security measure again.
However, situations like these don’t really need to worry you unless you’re someone high-profile, or have extremely sensitive data on your phone that someone could want. And if any thief tries to steal your phone, most of the time they won’t care much about it if they see it’s already secured by other measures. Most petty thieves don’t want to go through the hassle of trying to unlock your phone.
Though if they were determined, it is possible they could force you to look at your phone in order to open it. In this case, Face ID is essentially useless because it’s easy for an attacker to put your face up to your phone. So is there a better option for securing your phone?Try Using a Long Passcode Instead
While using Face ID is better than using nothing, you’ll always have better security if you opt to use a passcode instead. Length of the passcode matters, too. A 4-digit one is extremely easy for a computer to guess, but the more numbers you add the more difficult it becomes to unlock.
To get an idea of just how secure a longer passcode is, while a 4-digit code could take 7 minutes to crack, a 10-digit one could take 12 years. You also have the option to set up an alphanumeric code on your iPhone, which adds an extreme amount of security as well.
If you’re not too worried about someone breaking into your iPhone, though, and don’t really store any sensitive information on it, Face ID should be enough for you. And if you ever do feel you want extra security, you always have the option to change your Face ID and passcode settings within your iPhone’s settings.No Method is Completely Secure
Of course, no matter what method you use to secure your phone, nothing is completely impenetrable. There’ll always be ways to compromise a security measure. It’s simply a matter of finding which ones are least likely for this to happen.
In the case of iPhone authentication, it’s pretty clear that using a long, complicated passcode is your best bet for security. But if you aren’t very serious about it and need something easy, Face ID is perfectly fine to use.
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iPhone and iPad That Support Face ID
iPhones That Have Face ID Support:
iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone 11 Pro
iPhone XS Max
iPad That Have Face ID Support:
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation)
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation)
iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation)
iPad Pro 11-inch
How to Set Up Face ID on iPhone and iPad Pro
If you have not enabled Face ID while setting up your iPhone for the first time, here is how to activate it from the Settings app.
If you can not move your head, please tap on Accessibility Options and Use Partial Circle.
Tap Continue. Now, move your head slowly to complete the second and final scan. Finally, tap Done.
You have successfully set up Face ID on your device.
How to Use Face ID on iPhone and iPad Pro
You can use Face ID for various purposes like unlocking your device, App Store purchases, app sign in, and password autofill. Let me briefly take you through all these.
How to Unlock Your iPhone or iPad Pro with Face ID
Face ID only starts to scan the face when the lock screen is lit. You can use Raise to Wake (best option), tap the screen, or press the right side button to wake your iPhone or iPad.
After that, the device automatically swiftly unlocks your device. The lock icon above the time will show the lock/unlock status. Finally, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to enter your iPhone.
Note: On the iPhone, Face ID works best only in portrait orientation. However, on the iPad, you can use Face ID in either portrait or landscape orientation.
How to Use Face ID with Apple Pay?
Face ID has integration with Apple Pay. This lets you pay securely using Apple Pay and authenticate the payment conveniently with Face ID. If interested, know more about this.
Use Face ID to Make App Store Purchases and More
Just like Touch ID, you can use Face ID on your iPhone or iPad Pro to download free apps for the first time or buy apps, media, etc. The process is effortless and secure. To explain this adequately with step-by-step pictures, please head over to our guide on how to purchase apps on iPhone using Face ID.
Use Face ID to Sign in to Apps and Autofill Passwords in Safari
Some apps let you sign in using Face ID. Secondly, if you have set up iCloud Keychain on your iPhone, you can also autofill usernames and passwords after Face ID authentication. This keeps the login credentials safe.
How to Manage Face ID Use with Third-Party Apps
Third-party apps like WhatsApp, password managers, and more let you put a lock on them using Face ID. This ensures that without authentication, anybody except you can not get inside that app, even if you have unlocked your iPhone and handed over to them for a brief period. You will find the settings for Face ID integration for third-party apps in the apps’ security or privacy settings. From there, you can enable or disable Face ID lock.
This is how you can set up and use Face ID on your compatible iPhone or iPad. But that is not all. Face ID has more tricks up its sleeves. For example, you can add a second person’s face to Face ID. The second person can be your wife, parents, or somebody close whom you trust. You can also unlock Face ID when wearing a mask. Finally, if you decide that Face ID is not for you, it is easy to turn it off or reset Face ID to reconfigure it.
I have been an Apple user for over seven years now. At iGeeksBlog, I love creating how-tos and troubleshooting guides that help people do more with their iPhone, iPad, Mac, AirPods, and Apple Watch. In my free time, I like to watch stand up comedy videos, tech documentaries, news debates, and political speeches.
I love this iPhone X Face ID feature – but it could be better
The internet may be obsessed with Animoji karaoke right now, but the iPhone X’s Face ID has captured my attention – no pun intended – in another way. The TrueDepth camera is at the root of some of the most controversial elements of the iPhone X, its presence forcing the notched display and ousting the apparently beloved Touch ID fingerprint sensor, for example. Still, as I’m living with the iOS smartphone day to day, I’m growing increasingly convinced that those compromises were worth it.
It’s become clear that Face ID is much more than just a quick way to unlock the phone initially. Its attention-based security has other benefits too, stepping in at any point where previously apps and services would ask you to authenticate with Touch ID. Although tapping my finger against the home button never seemed like too much of a chore, the streamlining impact of the glance you’re already giving the phone also being your security validation adds up surprisingly.
One of the side-benefits of Face ID I didn’t expect I’d like as much as I do, is its control over lock screen notifications. On the iPhone X, when a new notification bubble pops up and the handset is locked, it now doesn’t show the content of that notification. So, you can see you have a new iMessage chat, or an email, or a Twitter message, but the content is private.
When Face ID spots your face, however, not only does the iPhone X unlock ready for you to swipe through to the home screen, but all the notifications are revealed too. It means that, even if someone picks up your phone and glances at it, they can’t see the content of your new notifications.
However, there’s a downside. I usually have my phone next to my keyboard on the desk, regularly glancing down at it as notifications come in. Unfortunately, since I’m apparently not within the range of Face ID’s various sensors – at least when I’m sitting up rather than slumping forward – on the iPhone X I get the notification bubble but none of the actual content.
If I lean forward, and look down toward the phone, that’s usually sufficient for Face ID to spot me. All the same, it’s definitely more back and forth movement than I had to make before, when with the iPhone 8 Plus I just needed to glance across to see what had lit up my phone.
My ideal would be some hybrid of the two systems. When the iPhone X was next to me on the desk, it would show the full notifications unless instructed otherwise; when it was elsewhere, it would restrict the content of those notifications as it does now. Perhaps it could work in the same way that Continuity can unlock your Mac when your Apple Watch is near, courtesy of low-energy Bluetooth.
MORE iPhone X Review
You can, of course, turn off the Face ID controlled notifications in the settings. Then the iPhone X behaves just like previous iPhones, either showing the full notification or, if you so choose, none of them.
I suspect that, as developers get to grips with what Face ID can do beyond just simple password replacement, this ability to gage authenticated attention will become increasingly a benefit to having the iPhone X versus other devices. It’s an extra layer of privacy that I didn’t realize I’d appreciate so much, but equally importantly it’s being enabled in a way that needn’t slow or distract from how I use the phone day to day.
DEET is a popular insect repellent—an estimated 30 percent of Americans use it every year—yet it sounds like a good number of people are wary of it, too. A Google search of “DEET dangers” found a Mercola article saying DEET kills mosquitoes, although it doesn’t (Perhaps they’ve confused DEET with DDT?). A site called FitSugar says “DEET pumps through your nervous system and has been proven to kill brain cells,” neither of which is true. Weird! Guess DEET does really suffer from a “perception problem,” as the Los Angeles Times reported in 2011.
Now, recent review of DEET’s effects on human health has found the insect repellent is safe to use on the skin. The review is one of several that researchers have done over the past 20 years, all finding that DEET is generally safe. In fact, there’s no direct evidence using DEET normally harms the nervous system. Bad reactions to DEET, when applied to the skin in bug sprays, are extremely rare, but not non-existent.
Why use DEET if there’s any risk of health problems at all? The chemical is the best insect repellent people have ever invented. Nothing else has the same history of efficacy, although a few others have strong evidence for them, too. Still, in regions where people are at risk for serious insect-borne diseases such as malaria or West Nile virus, DEET is what doctors recommend. In addition, doctors recommend using DEET in concentrations between 20 percent and 50 percent. The idea is that lower concentrations require people to reapply more frequently than they’re apt to (while concentrations higher than 50 percent don’t necessarily work better or longer). This means if you want DEET protection, you’ll have to resign yourself to using pretty high concentrations of the stuff.
Let’s start with the evidence for neurological problems from DEET, which FitSugar was so afraid of. In the scientific literature—in all of scientific literature since 1957, when DEET first appeared on store shelves—researchers have reported 14 cases of kids who suffered encephalopathy, including seizures, after using DEET on their skin. All but one were kids under age 8. Three children died. The others recovered fully. In each of the cases, it was difficult to determine whether DEET caused the brain symptoms. Such data are just hard to come by; the kids could have been exposed to other things, but it could have been the DEET, too.DEET is the best insect repellent humans have ever invented.
More straightforward is one study researchers conducted, following women in Thailand who used DEET from their second trimester of pregnancy onward. DEET reduced the incidences of malaria the women suffered, the study found. In addition, babies born to moms who used DEET didn’t differ from babies born to moms who didn’t use DEET. Babies in the two groups had the same weights and lengths and had the same head circumferences. All the babies also performed the same in neurological tests.
The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has a page of reports in the U.S. of health problems in people after using DEET. Among the cases are two deaths in adults and three cases in which pregnant women who used large amounts of DEET gave birth to babies with problems. One baby died. As with the kids with encephalopathy, in the nearly all of the ATSDR-reported cases, it’s difficult to know if DEET was the culprit. Compared to how often people use DEET around the world, those cases are very rare. Researchers estimate people around the world put on DEET 200 million times a year.
These figures are all for people who use DEET on their skin. Doctors definitely don’t recommend ingesting a lot of DEET or getting it in your eyes. Don’t leave bug sprays in a place where a kid could do either by accident. MedlinePlus lists symptoms of DEET ingestion, plus recommendations for what to do if someone does consume a lot of DEET or get it in his eyes.
We’ll leave you with what’s perhaps science’s strangest report of DEET-related problems. From the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry:
Happy camping, dear readers.
Like with Touch ID, Face ID can be disabled quickly and discreetly at any time, even when the phone is in your pocket, with a quick and useful shortcut.
When disabled that way, Face ID stays off until you type in your passcode.How to temporarily disable Face ID
To temporarily disable Face ID, do the following:
1) Press and hold the Side button and either Volume button.
2) After a second or so, up pops the “Slide to power off” screen with a pair of quick options for powering down the device or initiating a call to your local emergency services.
As soon as you summon this screen, iOS temporarily disables the Face ID feature.
Your face remains registered and Face ID is still turned on in Settings, but you can no longer unlock the phone with your face until your passcode is entered on the Lock screen.
3) Tap Cancel at the bottom or press the Side button again to dismiss this screen.
TIP: To prevent the “Slide to power off” screen from starting a countdown timer and playing a loud alert sound that indicate that an emergency call is about to be placed automatically, disable the option labeled Auto-Call in Settings → Emergency SOS.How to use Siri to temporarily disable Face ID
If your iPhone is nearby yet is not directly in your possession, you can still disable Face ID temporarily and require a passcode just by using Siri.
To do so, simply say “Hey Siri, whose phone is this?” Siri will show your contact card if there is one linked to you. Although it is not immediately clear, asking this question to Siri will disable Face ID and require a passcode to unlock the device.
TUTORIAL: How to disable Touch ID discreetly
Temporarily disabling Face ID before nap time is the best way to make sure that no one can unlock your phone by scanning your face while you’re asleep—which is why you should never disable Face ID’s Attention Awareness capability.
But what about the police?Legal gray area
In the United States, law enforcement agencies cannot legally compel you to give them your passcode or type it in yourself—that’s why you should memorize this helpful shortcut.
You never know if you’ll find yourself in an unfortunate position where a thief or a police officer may coerce you into unlocking the phone with Face ID. As an extra layer of protection, you’ll find this shortcut especially useful at the US border control to prevent warrantless searches.
Such situations are always stressful and you may not even have the chance to hold those buttons while pulling the phone out of your pocket. In that case, be sure to look away while handing your iPhone XS over to an officer to avoid unlocking it accidentally with a glance.
Could police officers force someone they’ve arrested to look into their iPhone XS to unlock it?
This is a bit of a murky legal area.
We know that the Fifth Amendment protects US citizens from having to give up information that could incriminate them, like a password or PIN code. Your facial scan (or thumbprint in the case of Touch ID), however, isn’t something you “know” the way your passcode is.
The US government currently does not leverage search warrants to compel criminals to unlock phones secured with biometric authentication, but don’t count on it. Legal uncertainty surrounding biometric authentication on smartphones is one of the most compelling reasons to memorize this handy gesture, just in case.Need help? Ask iDB!
Is Face ID not working on your iPhone or iPad Pro? If you’re tired of having to punch in your device passcode or Apple ID all the time, the fixes in this troubleshooting guide will help you out.
Although Face ID is a remarkably well-implemented feature, there are various instances where it malfunctions on the iPhone and iPad. For example, the TrueDepth camera could fail to kick in at device unlock or Apple Pay checkout. Or, it might struggle to recognize you.
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Work through the fixes that follow, and you should be able to get Face ID working correctly on your iPhone and iPad Pro again.You Must Enter Your Passcode In the Following Instances
Before you start, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with situations where you must enter the device passcode despite having Face ID active on the iPhone and iPad. These happen because of protective measures and feature limitations but are easily misunderstood as problems. The following isn’t an exhaustive list but covers the most common scenarios.
You just rebooted your iPhone or iPad.
You’re unlocking the device for the first time in 48 hours.
You aren’t looking at your iPhone or iPad directly. Face ID checks for your attention to improve security, but you can configure it to authenticate you regardless (more on that below).
You’re attempting to unlock your iPhone while holding it horizontally; this is not a problem on the iPad.
You’re obscuring your face with a mask or sunglasses. We’ve talked about ways to deal with this problem further into the post.1. Review Face ID Settings
If Face ID never shows up to authenticate specific actions like App Store and iTunes purchases, it’s best to begin by reviewing the Face ID settings on your iPhone or iPad.
Open the Settings app.
Scroll down, tap
Face ID & Passcode
, and enter your iPhone’s device passcode.
Turn on the switches next to the activities where you want Face ID to work:
: Unlock your iPhone at the Lock Screen
: Authorize iTunes and App Store purchases.
: Authorize Wallet and Apple Pay purchases.
: Authenticate password auto-filling in Safari and other apps.
: Manage third-party apps that support Face ID.2. Restart Your iPhone or iPad
If there’s nothing wrong with your Face ID settings, try rebooting the system software on your iPhone or iPad. That’s a quick fix to minor technical issues preventing the feature from working.
To restart any iOS or iPadOS device:
Open the Settings app and tap
and swipe right to power off the device.
button until you see the Apple logo.3. Update to the Latest Version of iOS
Face ID can stop working due to problems with iOS or iPadOS. Perform a software update and check if that makes a difference.
Wait until your iPhone or iPad scans for newer system software updates.
Download & Install
to install an update.
Can’t update your iPhone or iPad? Learn how to fix stuck iOS or iPadOS updates.4. Face the TrueDepth Camera
To improve Face ID security, your iPhone or iPad will not authenticate you unless you look directly at the screen or the TrueDepth camera.5. Check the TrueDepth Camera
Next, check the front camera on your iPhone or iPad and make sure that nothing is blocking it. For example, if you’re using an excessively bulky case, it could obstruct the top of the device. A screen protector that’s cracked (particularly closer to the camera) can also cause problems.
A sweaty or greasy iPhone screen is another reason that makes it harder for Face ID to scan your face. Wipe it with a microfiber cloth regularly to avoid that.6. Are You Covering Your Face?
Face ID requires a full facial scan to authenticate you, which means you must always enter your device passcode if you use a face mask. However, you have a couple of ways to avoid that on the iPhone.
Set up Unlock with Apple Watch: Use an Apple Watch to authenticate you instead of Face ID.
Activate Face ID with a Mask: Set up Face ID to authenticate you with a partial scan around the eye area. This feature is only available for the iPhone 12 and later.
Face ID also doesn’t work well with sunglasses. Set up “Unlock with Apple Watch” or an alternative appearance (more on that next).7. Add Alternate Face ID Appearance
Face ID is smart enough to adapt to subtle changes in your face, but it may have trouble identifying you if you change your appearance too much—e.g., with glasses or headgear. That’s why you must set up an alternative appearance. To do that:
Add Alternate Appearance
and go through a standard Face ID setup.8. Reset and Set Up Face ID From Scratch
If Face ID continues to have trouble showing up or fails to recognize, it’s time to reset Face ID and set it up from scratch. That clears the Secure Enclave—the subsystem that houses facial data—and helps fix persistent Face ID-related issues.
Reset Face ID
Restart your iPhone or iPad and revisit the Face ID & Passcode screen.
Set Up Face ID
and go through a standard Face ID setup.
Learn how to fix the “Face ID Is Not Available” error if you run into it during the Face ID setup.9. Factory Reset All Settings on iPhone
Assuming that a Face ID reset did not help, you must next shift your attention to a full settings reset. You will not lose any data, so if you want to go ahead:
Reset All Settings
Enter your device passcode and tap
.10. Factory Reset the iPhone Software
If the solutions above did not fix Face ID on your iPhone or iPad, you might be dealing with a severe software-related issue that nothing but a complete system reinstallation can fix.
Back up your iPhone or iPad to iCloud or a computer.
Erase All Content and Settings
and follow the on-screen instructions to reset the device to factory defaults. You can choose to restore your data while setting up the device again.No Luck? It’s Time to Contact Apple
Contact Apple Support if you continue to have problems with Face ID. You could be dealing with a defective TrueDepth camera that warrants a visit to the Apple Store. If you still want to stand a chance of fixing the issue yourself, try reinstalling the system software and the device firmware in DFU (Device Firmware Update) Mode.
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