Apple Face ID is excellent in recognizing our faces, thanks to the True Depth Camera system, which creates a depth map of our face and compares it to the enrolled facial data, using the neural engine.
The facial recognition system works through almost all appearance changes such as growing facial hair, wearing makeup, hats, scarves, sunglasses, etc. But what Apple hates the most is face masks, since Face ID is “designed to protect against spoofing by masks or other techniques through the use of sophisticated anti-spoofing neural networks.”
Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, millions of iPhone users are wearing face masks and are agonized about the fact that they can no longer use Face ID and have to deal with typing a passcode each time to unlock the device.
Of course, this does not undermine the horrors of COVID-19, which has resulted in a global death toll above 5000 and infected more than 140,000. But it’s still a pain for iPhone users who are going about their day.
After much uproar about the same on social media, Tencent Security Xuanwu Lab, a security firm, has found a way to use Face ID while wearing the face mask. The Face ID trick involves partially blocking the face with a face mask while re-enrolling the face data.
How to use Face ID while wearing Face Mask?
- Go to iPhone settings — Face ID & Passcode — Set up an Alternative Appearance.
- Fold your mask in half and cover the respective side of your face.
- Try to enroll in the face data. If your iPhone fails to register, slide the mask gradually until the viewfinder recognizes your face.
- Maintain your position and turn your head.
- After setting up the Face ID, try unlocking the device with only the face.
- Then, try Face ID with your face covered with the mask.
If you don’t have a mask at the moment, you can do it with a piece of paper. However, the unlock success rate will most likely drop due to high reflectivity on a paper.
It goes without saying that the above Face ID technique may make Face ID less secure. While Apple Face ID is considered one of the most secure face recognition tools, a crook impersonating the user with a mask may get in.
Android users can also follow the steps mentioned above to use face unlock while wearing a face mask. But it is important to note that face unlock on most Android phones is already unsafe, to begin with.