What really happened with Apple’s onstage Face ID glitch: Face ID worked perfectly, as intended

“The internet is buzzing. As Apple demonstrated its new flagship phone onstage, the $999 iPhone X, the face-recognition unlocking feature failed,” David Pogue reports for Yahoop Finance. “Apple software head Craig Federighi’s live demo had only just begun. ‘Unlocking it is as easy as looking at it and swiping up,’ he said, picking up the phone at his podium. ‘And, you know…'”

“He hit the Sleep switch to turn off the screen. ‘Let’s try that again,’ he said,” Pogue reports. “No luck. ‘Ho ho ho! Let’s go to backup here!’ He picked up a second, backup demo phone. This time, the Face ID worked, and he went on with his demo. But the headlines jumped to swift and merciless conclusions: Face ID had failed.”

“In fact, though, Face ID performed perfectly. It appears somebody at Apple set up the phone incorrectly,” Pogue reports. “To see what really happened, just look at the screen Federighi was confronting. It says, ‘Your passcode is required to enable Face ID.’ …It’s a security measure… Somebody, in the process of setting up Federighi’s demo phone, had restarted it before the show. The ‘passcode is required’ message protected Federighi’s stored face data, just the way today’s phones protect your stored fingerprint data.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Face ID worked perfectly, exactly as intended.

The Apple employee who blew this – let’s, uh, face it: The world’s first Face ID demo simply HAS to go off without a hitch (misinterpreted or otherwise) – should be pounding pavement today. If your (likely one) job is to make sure the equipment on stage works during a huge event attended by the world’s tech media and the equipment is improperly set up, generating reams of negative press mis- and disinformation worldwide, then you should be pink-slipped immediately. Period. Don’t let the 20-foot tall glass door hit you on the ass on the way out.

Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected. — Steve Jobs

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


    1. Even though Craig F. is mostly considered on of the best guys in Apple’s top brass, he really had a brain fart during the demo and screwed up pretty badly himself. As the head of all software, he should have caught the situation even having been woken up in the middle of the night. Even I, a mediocre user, understood what was going on.

    2. Welcome to Tim Cook’s rotten Apple:

      Where fuckups are not only accepted, but are considered the norm

      Bad design is repeatedly utilized in conjunction with apathy and laziness

      Social causes trump anything that’s actually product or user focused

      Naming conventions are an exercise in mental retardation

      Hardware updates are virtually non-existent

      And Keynote presentations are about as significant as excerpts from Hillary Clinton’s latest book

    3. It was no big deal. He recovered very smoothly, in fact. The iPhone will require your password even if the device simply has gone to sleep for a certain period of time. Honestly, it is no big deal. You people are ridiculous. Apple is hitting all time highs. The new campus is built. The transition to management after Steve Jobs’ untimely death is complete. Some analysts (Morgan Stanley) are now predicting Apple share prices of 205 (and 253 in the bullish case scenario). And you are belly-aching that Craig Federighi’s presentation phone requested a passcode?

      Silly people.

    4. Nah, Apple just made a stupid mistake and no one blames Apple because it’s Apple. Apple is beyond criticism. Apple could lay a turd on stage and people would applaud them for it.

  1. Let’s not discount the possibility that Craig forgot to use himself or provide the setter upper with his passcode in the pre show excitement. Don’t be so quick to judge…..

    1. I was actually mostly surprised that Craig wasn’t able to master the situation. Being the top guy responsible for the software, he should have been able to grasp the situation in a fraction of a second and just describe exactly how it works (“Oh, this one has been restarted. Just as with Touch ID, you just have to enter the passcode first to enable Face ID.”)

      Even though the joker who set up all the demo equipment screw up on his end, Craig is most likely cursing himself today that he had a brain fart.

      1. Exactly. A bad situation could have been turned to a huge positive. I don’t fault Craig though. He’s done some great work. He just missed an opportunity. Shit happens. Eddie Cueis the slob and needs to go for entirely different reasons. The 4K Apple TV theme shoulda been “We’re finally catching up to yesterday.”

    2. As somebody points out on another thread, FaceID uses the same rules as TouchID on iOS 11. If the device has not been unlocked within the last eight hours, it requires a passcode. Is it possible that the rehearsal for the presentation was the night before and not sometime after 5:00 that morning, or that Craig used the backup phone at the rehearsal and forgot to unlock the other phone?

        1. @KingMel

          If you would take some time spit Cook’s balls out your mouth for 5-seconds, you would know that Tim Cook and crew fucking reward incompetence. It’s what Cook built his new Apple on. This guy has been consistently destroying this company for 6-years… one fuckup at a time.

          1. You have got to be kidding. ‘destroying’? Really? The biggest, most profitable company on the planet is not being destroyed. Whatever you wanted Apple to be may be gone, but if you think you could do better or guide a company to what you want, just go out there and do it.

          2. Kind of like Steve Jobs’ comment about poor phone reception: “you’re holding it wrong”. Not a good response, but you have to admit, it really hasn’t affected the product’s sales life?

  2. MDN take is 100% accurate. This HAS to work on the first demo, and the responsible person’s head should roll. The Android sufferers have been squealing with glee across the internet that it failed.

  3. The snafu was inconsequential IMHO. Folks will always try to make a big to-do about something broken at Apple and it almost never turns out to be as big or bad as implied.

    I’m not terribly excited about face ID but I also don’t have any concern that it doesn’t work as intended. Has anyone read about Steve’s initial demo of the original iPhone? The device didn’t even work – it was mickey’d enough that they knew how to not cause it to fail/crash. That minor little “whoopsie” by Craig is a non-story. That said, we will probably hear about it endlessly.

  4. I believe Pogue is incorrect. If the iPhone had been restarted prior to Federighi’s use it would have said something like, ” Your passcode is required after a restart.”

    It’s more likely someone other than Federighi had lifted the phone twice and had not been recognized. After two failed attempts, Face ID requires the passcode with the message as quoted, “Your passcode is required to enable Face ID”.

    It’s also possible, of course, that Face ID still has bugs and needs to be finalized. Touch ID got better with each software/hardware iteration and it’s safe to assume Face ID will also.

    1. no isn’t the first statement correct?

      this IS the first FACE ID demo (as Face ID is an Apple trademark isn’t it?). The other facial recognition systems aren’t called Face ID…

  5. While it would be nice if it were a perfect world, and nothing ever went wrong, demos would always work perfectly, Windows wouldn’t blue screen, PC’s would not lockup, but to assume that someone should be fired, is just dumb. MDN makes loads of mistakes here and some of their shining examples of opinion are extremely lame This being one of them.

    We really don’t know if someone restarted it before the demo, we don’t know if the message on screen was the result of a restart or previous failures to do a recognition.. I don’t think Craig was going to type in a pass-code to get that demo unit going, even if he knew the code. Its why they have “backups” if both had failed, that would have been a significant issue, but it didn’t happen and other reports I’ve read seem to indicate that Face ID works flawlessly.

    Touch ID is NOT perfect either, it can take in some cases several stabs at unlocking one’s iPhone in various situations, Course the one thing I am confident of, its secure..

    1. Bingo. Touch ID doesn’t work if my hands happen to be a little sweaty or wet or timeouts, etc. However as someone who has done literally thousands of software demos, you make certain shit works in these situations. You’re Apple and well aware of timeouts, misrecognitions, etc. You turn that shit off or make damn sure somehow it doesn’t happen.

      This will blow over soon but unnecessary egg on their face for what should of been a flawless presentation of a new technology. You’re Apple, not Microsoft guys.

  6. Remember AntennaGate? How it was supposed to Doom Apple?

    It works both ways though. We should not be too “excited” with glitzes other companies make.

    There’s so much hate and arrogance on “both” sides of the Apple and non-Apple users. I was there once. I stopped participating in the forums for quite awhile.


  7. Every small thing is supposed to doom Apple which has been said for years but Apple is still around.

    It’s like some player hits three home runs the first three times he’s up at bat in the World Series, but the only thing some people remember is the player struck out his last time at bat and they’ll keep bringing that up. That’s just how retards are, always looking for other people’s faults. It’s always easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize despite not being able to do anything useful for oneself or anyone else.

  8. I disagree with MDN.
    Yes it was important, yes it was a big mistake, no you don’t fire people at the drop of a hat like that.
    Don’t be such a Trump, people are not used tissues for you to throw away. If that’s what you think, then you are not worth working for.
    I’ve seen supervisors like that, good people should stay away from people like that because they place no value in you.

    There is no future with people like that.

    1. No, I agree with MDN.

      in a McDonalds a worker probably won’t be fired for having hair in the burger , but in a 3 Michelin Star restaurant he certainly would have.
      The hair is the same, the situation and the establishment is not.

      And this is a heck a LOT worse than hair in a classy restaurant’s food.

      the mistake might cost Apple hundreds if not billions of dollars (iPhone makes over 100 billion a year in revenue, it’s bigger than Google and Microsoft entire product profits).

      It’ll give an opening for Android phone makers’ like Samsung’s PR machine to do damage. Not to mention paid trolls/astroturfers to flood the forums that ‘their’ phone’s Face ID is not working. Paid trolls BLEW UP Antennagate (look at actual stats below) and now the doofus has given them another chance.

      tech crunch:
      “With the iPhone 4, that return rate is 1.7%. The return rate is one-third of what it was for the iPhone 3GS.”

      (What I’m saying is that iPhone 4 worked BETTER than previous phones but paid astroturfers flooded the forums saying their non existent iPhones antenna was not working and caused a PR disaster, and now the careless staffer has given them an even BETTER chance to do the same with Face ID. NOTE: Samsung has publicly admitted it has a paid troll program and has been fined by various countries) .

      . Youtube videos, social media, press , blogs — this FACE ID does not work is going viral, every tech site has it, this is not a ‘glitch’ or small mistake , this to me is a multi million if not billions marketing disaster (I’m an ex marketing guy, an art director).

      If you DON”T fire somebody for this WHAT do you fire people for in Apple?

      1. if the staffer had not been properly briefed on the seriousness then fire the supervisor instead.

        if people don’t believe me, go read any of better management books — one of the hardest but most important traits of management is to to fire under performers, otherwise your business will certainly suffer. That’s why Jobs , arguably the greatest entrepreneur of his age wasn’t known as a ‘nice guy’ (he was fair but expected quality). Jobs famously scolded Ive for not taking an underperformer to task saying Ive wanted to be ‘loved’ and thus failing the company (and all the OTHER staffers who depend on Apple surviving)

        NOTE: tim cook fired Forstall apparently over Maps and Forstall was one of the few SVPS, a senior Job’s lieutenant. Considering where i now live Apple Maps STILL sucks (streets, malls missing) what do people think about Forstall?

        1. Forstall was fired for a host of things leading up to Maps. In the end, he still had the opportunity to keep his job. All he had to do was public apologize for not labeling Maps as beta. It wasn’t maps itself.
          Also, if maps is not working in your area TODAY, (it works great where I live, I use it every day for my job) that has nothing to do with Scott.

          1. what I’m saying is that Maps was such a complicated project, to have to equal or match Google maps in couple of years was near impossible. Perhaps there was other reasons for his firing but the public explanation was over maps.

            (your statement “All he had to do was public apologize for not labeling Maps as beta.” is not supported. Heard of the RUMOURS of him not wanting to sign the apology , never heard of this ‘beta’ issue. I googled it, no references for beta. For all we know Tim Cook forced him to launch before Forstall thought it was ready.. we’ll never really know ) .

            The other rumoured reason was he was fired for political reasons… so politics is justifiable, a giant error of Face ID that might lose millions is not?

            Maps was heck a lot more difficult (like a million times) than making damn sure the iPhones were ready.

            if you guys can’t see the Face ID mistake is a serious issue I can’t help you. ONE percent less sales of 100 billion is a billion dollar loss. Nobody is responsible? That’s what ‘be nice’ philosophy boils down to? Like I said I agree with Jobs and others philosophy , if you don’t hold staffers responsible and want to be ‘loved’ you shouldn’t be managing at all.

            what about all the staffers like engineers who busted their butts to make Face ID work (perhaps some got fired for underperforming), their hard work being slapped down by this stupid doofus error is Ok? What about investors who might be losing thousands or millions of dollars? Are investors livelihoods LESS important than the staffers? why?

            my stand is somebody is responsible for Maps, somebody is also responsible for Face ID.

          2. @ other steve

            Actually my using Forstall example was probably a mistake. It gets off on a tangent.

            My aim wasn’t really about Forstall but about the Face ID issue. Forstall example was just to show Apple has fired people before , that firing isn’t some ‘weird thing’, and that Forstall probably had a way tougher job than the iPhone set up guy.

            as for Maps it don’t work anywhere near as good as Google Maps in my area and I bet you a lot of others (who don’t live in certain metropolitan USA areas ) have the same issue.

            this week a tech columnist who was a iPhone user by chance talked about it:

            “The other consideration is that my car, which is a GM vehicle, uses either CarPlay or Android Auto. Now, I’ve tested both iOS and Android connectivity, and while CarPlay is better than most built-in car navigation systems, it definitely is not as good as the Google Maps app in Android Auto.”


            . Numerous people handled the phone: face I.D auto lock as it couldn’t identify everyone.

            I applaud Apple’s P.R reaction, tad slow but welcome.

        1. From what I’ve read Face ID worked perfectly in the hands on area after the event. Everyone makes mistakes and this is all that was. A mistake during a demo also has nothing to do with whether Face ID is going to work great in the real world so I’m not sure why you’re joining in with all the trolls and shitting on Apple about what was a simple mistake, which happens to everyone, even Apple.

          1. I was making a blanket statement. But even so, it’s the demi should have worked.

            To put it in context. Apple curates, minimalizez design and features, censors by not allowing internal competition for app stores, and makes money selling a sense of security.

            If ANY of that fails, they fail.

            1. So in your mind Apple is constantly failing, since everyone makes mistakes and nothing can actually be perfect. You may need to see a psychiatrist. Apple makes very good products which work together well in their ecosystem, but it ain’t perfect, just very good, lots of value for money, etc. Oh, I think I get it now, you’re a troll, you’re going to shit on Apple no matter what happens. Sorry for not recognizing that before. I won’t waste any more of my time with you.

            2. Any time a premium product falls short is a failure, and price does impact acceptability. That’s just objectivity.

              To screw up a scripted presentation with a main feature with all the world watching (I didn’t) is a screw up of massive proportions and does not convey the message a premium product represents. Stop defending failure, acknowledge and move on.

            3. You’re quite the drama queen aren’t you? A screw up of massive proportions! Oh noooooos! Apple dooooom! Get over yourself troll. What conveys the message of a premium product is how that products works for actual customers. Nobody but trolls and the clickbait media care about a simple mistake during a product demo. No premium product is perfect, just isn’t possible. Do you consider every product ever made a failure then? You must. As I said, you should think about some counselling. You clearly have issues.

        1. really?

          I’m an ex-marketing guy and over and over again people in other disciplines make fun of the power of image, persuasion, of things going viral..

          I bet you a whole bunch of EX PRESIDENTIAL candidates thought the same and found out the hard way… I don’t want to get into details as it’ll get into a right/left flame war but if you study the last few elections (and before) you will find how twisting and exaggeration, things going viral affected outcomes .

          still think image and media control doesn’t count?
          that blogs, tweets, forum posts don’t matter?

          There are people employed to manipulate media : go read “Trust me, I’m lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator” by Ryan Holiday who made a lucrative living being an expert at media including leaking fake news for businesses to big agencies. He describes it’s easier than people think, get a few fake items in blogs , items which would be picked up by local news and then picked up by the nationals like the New York Times, Washington post etc. (it’s cheaper to pick blog items than actually do investigative reporting. And they can’ t be sued as they have a ‘source’… )

          (read my post carefully, I’m not saying that Federighi’s slip was that bad, I said people like Samsung would make use of it. Samsung has been fined tens of thousands for astroturfing, fake reviews of rival products etc. Go Google the HTC Samsung case tried in Taiwan where Samsung tried to destroy HTC by fake reviews etc . I bet you dozens of Android phone makers have the same policies. not to mention plain Apple hating Android fans : just look at MDN forums the last few days: so many condemning the new products. The fake ID glitch is a big fat opportunity for them .. )

          The antenna gate issue had HUNDREDS of complaints in some forums yet like I quoted the actual iP 4 return rate (stats from Apple) was one third of the previous 3GS phone and that from ALL reasons and not just the antenna…

          my error re- reading my post was the financial figures as I calculated ALL iPhones vs just the Face ID phones. The potential financial hit would be smaller but still huge. Other than that I stand by what i argued.

          Fortunately Apple hurriedly has tried to correct it with fast explanation post. this has likely mitigated a lot of it.

          In the past like the ‘China Child labour’ issue Apple PR didn’t work fast enough to put it’s own side out (when various news agencies reported the fake news started by Mike Daisey and others ) and got a huge amount of damage and up to day the myth that Apple consciously used child labour is prevalent (news agencies frequently use the false quotes even today) .

  9. Based on that quote, MDN, what’s your excuse for the completely dogshit app of yours?

    That’s it. I’m finally done with this POS site. The curators are fscking right-wing assholes, with even worse commenters…just a steaming pile of negativity. 🖕

  10. The question that remains for me is whether Apple really believes Face ID is a superior system or if they just came up with a complex way to remove the home button and free up screen real estate. It’s also not out of the question that the main reason it was introduced was for Animoji and Snapchat, among other AR-related apps of the future.

    1. I think Apple is serious. Face ID will be phased-in to all their computer devices. The finger sensor was a stepping stone to this form of secure biometric identity (one-in-a-bilion, they claim). A huge part of their business model depends on that security—App Store, Apple Pay etc.

  11. That didn’t bother me. So he switched to a second phone and it worked perfectly. Boohoo, what a tragedy! Not.

    The worst part of watching the Apple event was knowing what was coming up ahead. The “one more thing” moment was mean to be a triumph in the Jobs tradition, but ended up being utterly limp. It shows how necessary it is to have all-encompassing security in this business.

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