Apple introduced Face ID to unlock iPhones with the iPhone X, nearly three years back. But exactly how does Face ID work and what sort of data does Apple collect when it comes to this? The Indian Express takes a detailed look.
Despite its popularity and its availability now on multiple devices, not many know much about this authentication technology used by Apple. “Face ID, when it came out, also reinvented the way that we unlock, log in and pay on the iPhone. It also utilises some of our most sophisticated technologies, like the True Depth camera system, the secure enclave on the chip, as well as the neural engine together, making it one of the most secure facial authentication systems ever in a smartphone,” Kaiann Drance, Apple’s VP for product marketing told indianexpress.com in a telephonic interaction.
The camera system will map the geometry of the face along with 2D and depth information before the phone unlocks it. This is done only after the attention aware requirement is met. The depth information is an additional level of security as most other facial unlock technologies use only 2D information.
For most of the data that it collects from the user, Apple has a policy of storing the details on the device itself without sending it up to the cloud. With Face ID, Drance said, Apple does not store photos anyway and has just the “mathematical representations of your face… Even that is encrypted and protected by the secure enclave,” she explained, elaborating on the separate section in Apple’s A series chips. “So we are providing not only a software mechanism for additional security through algorithms, but actually a hardware architectural design decision that we made to make this walled-off part of the chip that wasn’t even accessible to the rest of your system on a chip. And that was really important to us for protecting your facial data.” And since this data is on device and never backed up, “Apple doesn’t have access to your facial data in the server.”
MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s Face ID is in a completely different league versus insecure rinky-dink Android knockoffs from Google et al.