Apple’s been planning to replace Touch ID with facial recognition for years


iPhone 8 facial recognition
We could be waiting a long time for iPhone 8.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s rumored decision to ditch Touch ID on the iPhone 8 may not be as rushed a decision as some rumors have claimed.

Facial recognition features could replace Touch ID on Apple’s premium handset this year and a new patent filing shows the company has been working on the technology behind it for over 3 years.

biometric authentication
Drawings from Apple’s biometric authentication patent.
Photo: USPTO

In its newest application patent US020170199997, Apple describes a biometric authentication system that could use facial recognition sensors to unlock your iPhone. The patent highlights ways that the biometric data could be gathered without any input from the user.

Facial scanning iPhone 8

One of the ways Apple proposes authenticating users is by embedding a fingerprint sensor into the display. Touch ID behind the display has been one of the biggest rumors for the iPhone 8. However, recent reports claim Apple is facing significant hurdles producing enough components.

Apple’s new patent proposal shows how facial scanning could replace Touch Id. Based on the patent description, it could be pretty great. If it works as well in the dark as it does in the light.

“The sensing component may be positioned such that the sensing region of the sensor includes expected positions of the users while the user operates the electronic device. The sensor may detect one or more biometric attributes of the user (e.g. facial or eye features) using the sensing component.”

A number of different sensors could be used for the facial recognition tech. 3D capture sensors would allow the iPhone to grab contour data of your face. Infrared sensors can be used to capture information on a user’s eyes.

The iPhone 8 (or iPhone Pro) is expected to be unveiled alongside the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus at an event this fall. Other rumored features could include inductive charging, an all-glass design, better cameras and more.


Via: AppleInsider

  • Rohan

    Doesn’t matter how they try to sell this one. I’m not buying without touchid, period.

  • aardman

    Can a crook grab the phone from your hands, hold it in front of your face, unlock the phone and empty your bank account?

  • William Donelson

    Completely stupid idea. NO WAY I will buy an iPhone which needs to look at my face.

  • Dudley8

    Totally against this. Do i have to take off my shades every time to unlock? What if I haven’t shaved in a while? What about in dark rooms? I will not buy it without the fingerprint sensor.

  • Tim Dawes

    This can’t be a thing. How would Apple Pay work? They’d basically remove that functionality from the phone by removing Touch ID. TBH I’d settle for it being on the back before removing it altogether

  • josephz2va

    Except most people change their styles and confuse the camera all the time. I had a Motorola X and had to update my photo everytime I shaved or grew a full and long beard.

  • D. B.

    I feel most people are getting ahead of themselves. I don’t believe they will ditch Touch ID completely- facial recognition will just be an added feature that will complement it. I could see facial recognition working without doing anything other than lifting your phone toward your face the way one would do normally and it may open even quicker than Touch ID. Once unlocked, sub-display Touch ID will be available to Apple Pay and other app-level authentication.