How iPhone X Face ID works? Here’s what you need to know about the iPhone X’s signature feature..

This year, the technology that people are talking about most is iPhone X’s new identification system that has replaced touch ID. This new identification feature is called Face ID – it identifies you and unlocks your device when you look at it. It sounds so simple, but how does this actually work?

Like the Touch ID fingerprint reader on previous versions of the iPhone, Face ID is used to verify the identity of the user.

It uses the iPhone X ‘s “TrueDepth” selfie camera to scan your face, and compare it with a 3D image stored on the phone. If a match is detected, the phone automatically unlocks.

The entire design and user experience of new iPhone revolve around Face ID. This is what let Apple ditch the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and their iconic home button. Most of the apps, including Apple Pay user flow has been redesigned around Face ID. Even the new Animoji entirely depends on Face ID sensors. So if Face ID doesn’t work, the whole iPhone X (including hardware and software) fails to deliver promise.

How does iPhone X Face ID work?

When you raise your iPhone or tap the screen, the True Depth camera will automatically start looking for your face.

Most of the equipment that face ID uses are located at the front part of the phone. Apple managed to squeeze a few different components here, besides a traditional front facing camera, microphone, ambient light and proximity sensor, you also have flood illuminator, and a dot projector, which is something Apple is calling a true depth camera system.

iphone x face idWhen you glance at your iPhone X, the flood illuminator lights up your face using infrared rays (invisible to the human eye). Once the system detects your face position, the dot projector shoots 30,000 infrared rays on your face in order to generate a unique 3D map of it.

Because this is all done with infrared technology, the system does not require any light to detect your face. It can perform in low-light situations without any issues.

The infrared camera captures the 3d pattern generated by the dots, which is further used to build a mathematical model of your face. This model is the matched against the one that was previously set on the phone. If they both are similar. Your phone will be unlocked and you will be given access to the specific section you wanted to engage. All of this happens in real time

Can it be fooled with a picture?

Apple claims the probability that a random person in the population could look at your iPhone X and unlock it using Face ID is approximately one in a million.

For additional protection, Face ID allows only five unsuccessful match attempts before a passcode is required to obtain access to your iPhone. Of course, if you have a twin or a sibling who looks very similar to you. The probability of a false match is higher.

It is also higher for children under the age of 13. Because their distinct facial features may not have fully developed, according to Apple.

iphone x face idWhat if I wear glasses or grow a beard?

Face ID is designed to work with hats, scarves, glasses, contact lenses and many sunglasses.

So if you grow a beard or dramatically change your makeup, and iphone x Face ID may fail to recognise you. But if you immediately follow the failure by entering your passcode, Face ID will store the captured image.

If it detects that the stored image is a close match. It will augment its enrolled Face ID data with the newly calculated mathematical representation,so over time it will come to recognise you. FaceID is designed to work indoors, outdoors, and even in total darkness.


The probability of random person looking at your iPhone X and unlocking it using Face ID is around 1 in 1 million (versus 1 in 50 thousand for Touch ID).

Recently, Mashable posted a video on YouTube, in which they’ve showed a pair of twin fooling the Face ID. The video clearly shows that the iPhone X has a weakness for identical twins, it can’t really tell the difference.

It’s not hard to guess. Apple is currently working on their Face ID system to make it even more powerful and accurate. In the meantime, identical twins will probably be locking their iPhone X with passcode.

Can I still use Touch ID?

No. Touch ID is not available on the iPhone X. If you want to stick with fingerprint authentication. You’ll need to buy a different model, like the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus.