iPhone X Face ID can be Tricked

But Only if You have a Twin

The latest iteration of the iPhone hits the market tomorrow, on November 3rd.  We can expect millions of people to buy it, but if you’re just now getting your order in, don’t expect to receive your phone any time soon.  As with virtually every new iPhone, there is waiting period, sometimes several months long, to get your product in hand.

You can trick the iPhone X if you're a twin

As for the real story, the iPhone X has a bunch of updates that the iPhone 8 didn’t incorporate.  One of the most anticipated is being able to unlock your phone with facial recognition, or Face ID.  The idea behind it is that Face ID is much more sophisticated, and a whole lot more unique than fingerprints.  Unless you happen to have a twin.


Security of Face ID

iPhones have gone through a few different iterations of security.  They started with a four digit passcode.  That because a six digit passcode.  Touch ID replaced the passcode, and now facial recognition is where it’s at.  So is Face ID that much safer?

According to Apple, the chances of someone else unlocking your phone with Face ID is 1 in 1,000,000.  The chances of someone unlocking your phone with Touch ID is 1 in 50,000.  While we think of our fingerprints as the most unique aspect about us, in reality our faces are even more unique (with many experts saying that your heartbeat is even more unique to the individual).

There are exceptions though.

What about Twins?

Twins trick Face IDFace ID is great because most of us have unique faces.  That is, except for the 10 million or so sets of twins in the US.  In those cases, the faces are largely similar.  And that has thrown Apple for a loop.

A variety of publications, like Business Insider, Mashable, and the Wall Street Journal ran tests on the new iPhone, and discovered that unlocking someone else’s device is more like 3 out of 4 (at least in the case of twins).

The problem was exacerbated with twins (or triplets) that were younger.  It seems that a face that isn’t fully developed is easier to fool the phone than faces that are fully developed.

The Mask Test

Most of us don’t have information on our phones that is highly classified.  But those who do might run the risk of someone creating a three dimensional mask of their face.  That mask, theoretically, could be used to unlock the phone.

The Wall Street Journal came to our aid and discovered that no, you cannot trick Face ID with a mask.  At least not in their findings.  Give it some time and there will likely be a mask made that is able to trick the device.

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Suppose you’re being captured by spies, and they want to unlock your phone.  They hold the phone to your face, but you squint real hard and refuse to allow them access.  In frustration they throw your phone across the room.  In a daring escape you retrieve the phone and flee to safety.  You’re safe, but your phone is broken.

Bring that broken phone to iDoctor!  We can replace the screen and get you back up and running so you can once again work on the highly important, and highly classified, documents that the spies were trying to steal from you.

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