Sorry, kids: Apple's new Face ID isn't meant for you

IPhone X de AppleAPPLE

Apple's software engineering chief Craig Federighi talked about Face ID in various interviews after the iPhone X was revealed earlier this month.

Apple launched a new privacy website today to explain how it's protecting users' personal information as new technologies like facial recognition and machine learning make their way into the company's products. This technology works by its division into two halves: one side, which is being referred to as a "Romeo" module, projects infrared dots to map one's face, while on the other side, which is being touted as the "Juliet" function, there is a program that reads the pattern. Apple says it's related to its face detection capabilities.

The new iPhone has two components that work together for facial recognition, referred to as "Romeo" and "Juliet" by engineers and suppliers.

The iPhone X does allow third-party apps to let you sign in via Face ID, but these outside developers only receive notifications from Apple that you've been authenticated or not. Apple then compares that information to images you took while setting up Face ID; that comparison is done using a "neural network" that lives on the iPhone X's new A11 chip.

Also, storing the Apple Pay transaction data in the same secure enclave with the Face ID authentication data could create a more desirable target for hackers, Fu said.

Five unsuccessful attempts at Face ID will force you to enter a passcode - which you'll need anyway just to set up facial recognition. In a white paper released today, Apple assures that the "facial matching is performed within the secure enclave using neural networks trained specifically for that objective", which means data never leaves the user data.

Unlike other tech giants, Apple has always openly talked about its data collection practices, the reasons behind such collection and how it plans to keep that data secure.

Like the Touch ID, Face ID won't completely replace a user's passcode. If it's a close enough match, Face ID may still save and use this model too.

If you're still anxious about Face ID, you can read Apple's entire security guide at this link.

Interestingly, Apple also details how Face ID will keep up with changes to a user's face over time.

The system will work indoors, outdoors, and "even in total darkness", Apple wrote.

This started with a process of anticipating all the methods hackers might try to fake their way past Face ID. "Only in the case that you wish to provide Face ID diagnostic data to AppleCare for support will this information be transferred from your device". The 10th anniversary device will be offered in 64GB and 256GB starting at $999.

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