Face ID: mask recognition in iOS 15.4

Little did Apple imagine, when Face ID debuted, that just a few years later its face-based biometric identification system, would be severely limited as a result of a pandemic that practically nobody imagined until the beginning of 2020. Since the mask became a regular part of our daily lives, the usefulness of this system has been substantially reduced. This could be one of the reasons why Apple is considering recovering Touch ID.

A few months into the pandemic, Apple’s first response to the mask issue was make Face ID quickly detect if the user is wearing a mask and if yes, it will automatically jump to unlock mode with the code. In this way, the process of unlocking the device is accelerated, although of course, it requires the use of the code for this purpose, which means giving up the convenience of biometric identification.

Thus, something that many users have been demanding from Apple for a long time is that it find a way to make Face ID compatible with the mask. A demand that, as we can read in 9to5mac, is about to be satisfied, since Apple will enable the use of Face ID with a mask starting in iOS 15.4. Quite a surprise, since there have been no announcements or leaks in this regard.

Face ID could work with a mask soon

Of course, Apple warns that using Face ID under these conditions substantially reduces the security of the identification, since the identification in this case will be limited to the eyes, compared to its normal operation, in which more elements of the face are taken into account. Consequently, this new possibility will not be activated automatically, it will be the user who will have to choose whether to activate mask identification or, on the contrary, prefer to preserve the security offered by Face ID with its normal operation.

Another aspect, this much less understandable, is that it seems that Apple would have decided to limit this possibility to iPhone 12 and iPhone 13, therefore excluding the rest of the older models but that also have Face ID that, let’s remember, debuted with the iPhone X. It may have to do with the resolution of the front camera of the different models, but in that case Apple could think of a system that, for example, asks the user to bring the phone close to one of their eyes, thus allowing identification through the iris.

It should be understood that this is an early version of this new Face ID feature, so Apple should be given some leeway to find solutions that allow biometric identification with a mask to be carried over to previous models of the iPhone. If he does not do it over time, yes, it will undoubtedly be a somewhat reprehensible attitude to those from Cupertino.

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