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iPhone: iOS 15.4 beta confirms that Apple will never put Touch ID back in a flagship

iPhone iOS 15.4 beta update
© Lemon Squeezer / Apple

Since the iPhone X launch, Apple has relied on FaceID facial recognition technology on its high-end smartphones. The Covid crisis had once suggested a return to Touch ID as an additional unlocking mode, but the latest iOS 15.4 beta shows that Apple is instead improving its Face ID technology to better generalize it in its flagships.

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Since the launch of iPhone X in 2017, there has been a leitmotif on all high-end smartphones at Apple. Instead of TouchID fingerprint recognition, these devices are all equipped with FaceID facial recognition. The system is one of a kind – in fact only Apple uses such secure 3D facial recognition. To work, the facial recognition of iPhones relies on a set of complex sensors.


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Including a dot projector that allows the device to accurately assess volumes. An algorithm adds the data analyzed by the system, in particular in a triangle formed by the eyes and the mouth of the user. Then unlock the smartphone. The system is said to be more secure than Touch ID, in addition to being faster and working just as well regardless of the type of skin or the humidity of your hands – which is not necessarily the case for the recognition of an ID. ‘fingerprints.

Your iPhone will unlock soon despite the mask

Yet with the onset of the pandemic, a problem quickly arose. As the FaceID algorithm requires an analysis of the area around the mouth, it quickly became apparent that surgical masks prevent facial recognition from working. Result: users tend to take off the mask to unlock their smartphone (and sometimes forget to put it back on). Not to mention the fact that FaceID received one of the first real rounds of criticism since its launch.

So to contain the situation, Apple quickly offered a temporary fix: allow owners of Apple Watch watches to unlock their smartphone faster from their wrist. However, we were waiting for Apple to put in place a more lasting and permanent solution. With why not the return of TouchID in the firm’s most high-end smartphones – in addition to or replacing FaceID.

But Apple has finally decided to take a completely different path, as shown by the latest iOS 15.4 beta. We indeed discover a new setting that allows FaceID to ignore the area around the mouth and unlock the smartphone by simply analyzing the area around the eyes when the user is wearing a mask . The system remains secure enough to allow the operation of Apple Pay, for example.

Apple suggests that enabling Face ID’s mask setting makes facial recognition a little less secure. Nevertheless, according to the first feedback, the testers are rather satisfied – since they find normal functioning of FaceID despite the use of the mask, especially in shops and public places.


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Obviously, by demonstrating that FaceID can be practically as secure and practical with a mask, Apple sends a hollow message to those who thought they would see Touch ID return in an upcoming high-end iPhone: the firm has absolutely no reason to follow its Android competitors and drop its secure facial recognition in favor of a fingerprint reader – which would not necessarily be suitable for all users.

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