I’ve had my iPhone X for while now and I haven’t been writing about it since I did my big review. For a long time I’ve wanted to write a separate post about the X’s most talked about feature, Face ID. But I really wanted to get used to it, that’s why this post is lives in 2018 not 17.
Since the iPhone 5s, Touch ID has been my best buddy. He helped me unlock my phone, make iTunes & App Store purchases and even secured my banking apps. With the iPhone 6s, Apple made Touch ID twice as fast. But since, they havent Improved the fingerprint scanner to much. Now, with the introduction of the iPhone X, we know why. Apple was probably already working on Face ID back then.Is Face ID a worthy replacement for Touch ID? Well, I would say yes. In simple terms, Touch ID requires user interaction, Face ID doesn’t. If you wanted to unlock your phone with Touch ID, you had to physically touch a button with your finger, your finger also had to be enrolled into Touch ID first. With Face ID, whenever you look at the phone, it unlocks. You don’t have to do anything specific other than look at your iPhone. Which, if you want to use it you’re already doing. In simple terms, Touch ID is visible security and Face ID is (almost) invisible security. Not that visible security is a bad thing, I love the fact that my MacBook has Touch ID, but can you image a Mac with Face ID? You just open it, it recognises your face and you’re in. Want to look at your passwords in Keychain? Face ID already know who’s sitting in front of the computer so it’ll know if you are authorised. I really like Touch ID on my Mac but a Mac with Face ID would be just awesome!
This does have a downside. For example, you accidentally press an app in the App Store that costs money and BOOM, Face ID automatically scans your face and you’ve paid. Without you actually wanting to download that app. This is where ‘invisible’ security becomes too quick and easy. Apple had thought of this as well, of course. Whenever you want to download an app, you’ll have to double press the side button and only after you did this, Face ID will authenticate and buy the app. So Apple made the app purchasing experience in a way that it is impossible to accidentally trigger an unwanted purchase. Although this is a step back; going from invisible to visible, requiring a user action with a double press, it is the only way right now to do these kinds things.
When Touch ID was first released, most of Apple’s own apps were updated to take advantage of it. But all of the thirds party apps needed to be updated by the developer. Which made Touch ID cool for unlocking your device and making purchases on the iTunes- or App Store but quit useless for anything else. My banking app took more than 2 years to implement Touch ID as a secure way of sining in. I do admit, my bank is kind of stuck in the Stone Age so if they’re reading this (Looking at you BNP…) please jump on the next cool technology a bit sooner. The point that I wanted to make clear with this example is that, Face ID is different. Apps don’t need to be updated for Face ID cause Apple made it in a way that all apps with support for Touch ID automatically support Face ID. Which I love! It’s all in the little things…
Apple’s Graig Federighi also talked about Face ID in an interview with John Gruber at The Talk Show. I would encourage you to listen to the podcast because I learned a lot about it from just listening.
I really like living with Face ID. Although I think there could be lot’s of improvements. The biggest thing for me is speed. The speed should be increased by 2 or 3 times to make it a truly amazing experience. I find myself waiting too long sometimes until the phone unlocks. I would also like it to read my face from a little farther away. Because sometimes I have to bring the iPhone closer to my face for it to unlock. I do think Apple knows these things. So we’ll probably see a lot of improvement in software and maybe even in hardware as well.
iPhone X owners out there! What is your experience like? Please let me know.