Apple’s leaked HomePod firmware shows iPhone 8 likely to abandon Touch ID in favor of ‘Pearl ID’ facial recognition

“Although Apple works tirelessly to prevent iPhone 8 leaks from bubbling up via the company’s murky supply chain, it turns out that the most revealing iPhone 8 leaks of all have come directly from Apple,” Yoni Heisler reports for BGR. “In a rather bizarre turn of events, Apple over the weekend released firmware for its upcoming HomePod speaker online, and in the process, it inadvertently gave developers the opportunity to unearth and essentially confirm a number of key iPhone 8 details.”

“Noted developer Steve Troughton-Smith relayed earlier this week that the iPhone 8 will not include a Touch ID sensor embedded into the display, as previously rumored,” Heisler reports. “Newly unearthed data strings found in the HomePod firmware seem to suggest that Apple Pay on the iPhone 8 will, in fact, rely upon facial recognition for authentication purposes.”

“There are data strings referencing payments alongside a reference to ‘pearl,’ a codename which likely refers to Apple’s facial recognition software,” Heisler reports. “In short, there’s reason to believe that Apple with the iPhone 8 might actually abandon Touch ID in favor of a facial recognition solution.”

Read more and see the data strings in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s infrared 3D facial recognition will work – very well – and it’ll be secure – very secure – or Apple wouldn’t do it.


  1. How does facial recognition work in the dark, or if half your face is obscured because you’re lying down? Basically, any common situation when the camera can’t see your face properly for whatever reason?

    1. Just because you can’t see infra red, it doesn’t mean that it’s dark to the camera.

      If the camera can’t properly see you, it’s going to be as reliable as a touch sensor which you’re not properly touching.

      1. I know things can use infra red, but do face recognition systems only use that? A touch sensor will clearly not work if you’re not touching it properly, but you can touch it properly whilst taking it out of your pocket or without having it pointing directly at your face. I’m sure it will work well, but I can see many instances where it won’t be very convenient.

  2. I like being able to use ApplePay without even looking at my phone. I pull it out of my pocket, double click, hold my thumb, set the top of the phone of the reader. I feel a vibration, put my phone away.

    I will miss the button if it is taken away.

  3. How is facial recognition for unlocking your phone (and other actions) more secure?

    Get stopped by a police officer and he wants to search your phone: all he has to do is point the phone at your face and he has access to your phone. Some great security isn’t that.

    Further, as I’ve said before, it’s a step back in usability. Right now, when at a work desk, I have my phone plugged in charging. If I get a message or email or notification all I have to do is reach over and touch the TouchID with a finger to unlock it and see what came in. I don’t have to move the phone at all. With face recognition I’ll have to stop what I’m doing, pick up the phone and hold it in front of my face to get it to unlock.

    Yes, it is not a big deal, but it *IS* a step backward in ease of use. Apple should NEVER go backward in ease of use (even though we all know they do that all too often).

    We can all go on and on about reasons why dropping TouchID is a bad thing. Let’s hope Apple is not dumb enough to do that or the iPhone 7 might be the iPhone I stay with for many, many years.

    1. The supreme court has already ruled that you are not allowed to deny your thumbprint. So this is really no different.

      The upshot is this, if you have sensitive stuff on your phone, and a cop is likely to pull you over, hold the power key combo to force restart. Your phone will then restart asking for your passcode. Under the law you are not compelled to give them that.

      1. The Supreme Court of the United States has NOT ruled on whether fingerprint-unlock is testimonial (and thus cannot be forced) or not. Courts in some jurisdictions (Virginia, Minnesota) have allowed the forced use of fingers to unlock phones, but the issue has not yet been settled by SCOTUS. That said, it is probably wise to NOT have your phone accessible by fingerprint if law enforcement may detain you and/or your phone.

        So, your point about forcing a restart to lock the phone is a good one. Another quick way to block fingerprint access is to try the wrong finger(s) a few times quickly. Not sure which is faster.

    1. I agree. All this carping is about how a feature no one outside of Apple has seen operate is going to mess up their lives. Let’s wait and see how it works. My bank already uses facial recognition on the iPhone. It’s not as convenient as Touch ID, but it works with the currently available software and hardware. I’m excited to see what capabilities new software and hardware will bring.

  4. The article assumes that Touch ID is going away. There is nothing in the article that says Touch ID is gone. I would bet a ton of cash that Touch ID is still there. They are just adding facial. It does not make sense to remove a known working solution for another that has zero real-world data in its performance.

    1. I use TouchID all the time for instant access to:

      – The iPhone itself
      – App purchases
      – 1Password
      – Apps for three bank apps, including transfers, check deposits, account info
      – Paypal
      – Stanford Hospital app for records, test results, appointments, doctor messages
      – movie ticket purchases
      – sporting event ticket purchases

      TouchID has become an essential part of my iPhone experience. Curious to see if FaceID will be as friction-less as TouchID

  5. The basis for the claim that TouchID is going away is the apparent existence of a new software test for its presence.

    Such a test could just as likely be used to determine if (a) the user has chosen SETTINGS to use TouchID rather than FaceID, or (b) to determine if the phone is NEW enough to have TouchID, or (c) if TouchID has been set up by the user, or (d) any of the above

    To a software app developer, there’s no difference between a, b, c, or d, and the software change seems like a simplified way to handle any of the above conditions.

    But it really provides no info on the likelihood of the TouchID in the iPhone 8

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.