Apple considered Face ID for M1 iMac, but it's not ready for MacBook yet

Apple considered Face ID for M1 iMac, but it’s not ready for MacBook yet

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No Face ID in MacBook Pro is a missed opportunity
It will be some time before Face ID graces a MacBook.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple considered bringing Face ID to the M1 iMac, which would have been an ideal candidate for the facial recognition technology, according to a new report.

It’s not clear why the company didn’t follow through with the move. It is believed Face ID could appear in a future Apple desktop. But one source, who has been reliable in the past, says the technology isn’t yet ready for a MacBook.

M1 iMac was close to getting Face ID

Apple hasn’t exactly been quick at bringing its biometric security technologies to the Mac. It took three years for Touch ID to hit the MacBook Pro after making its debut with iPhone 5s. And four years after Face ID first debuted with iPhone X, it’s still exclusive to iPhone and iPad Pro.

But that very nearly changed last year. “Face ID was in the cards for the original M1 iMac,” reveals Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman in his latest Power On newsletter. “Naturally, the iMac is the thickest Mac with a built-in display,” so it would have made sense for it to be the first Mac with Face ID.

Gurman didn’t reveal why Apple chose not to build Face ID into the iMac in the end — and he’s not sure if it will come to another Mac in the future. “Time will tell if they launch it,” he added. “If Face ID comes to the Mac, I think it will be on an iMac or external monitor first.”

Face ID isn’t ready for a MacBook

And there’s one very good reason for that, Gurman says. It seems that the technology behind Face ID, as it stands today, isn’t ready to be baked into a MacBook since they use significantly thinner screens that Apple’s desktops.

“At this point, the technology to embed Face ID into the thin MacBook displays doesn’t exist,” Gurman said.

That’s disappointing news for those hoping Face ID might come to MacBook in 2022 or 2023. It seems it’s only a matter of time before it graces a Mac of some kind, but when it comes to portables, the technology could be exclusive to iPhone and iPad Pro for a while longer.