Image for article titled Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid of Using Face ID on iPhone

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Big Brother! 1984! Scary catchphrases! You see, it’s understandable why you’re skeptical of Big Tech, especially when their products keep asking for more of your personal information. But let’s focus on one specific topic today: Apple’s Face ID is absolutely, absolutely, and undisputedly secure, and it only makes your iPhone more secure.

If you’re used to a smartphone that unlocks with a fingerprint or just a passcode, the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčthis device scanning your face can be unsettling. With all of the talk about face recognition and smartphone tracking, you might think that allowing Apple to do something as important as your face is a bit slippery.

The thing is, Apple isn’t Arya Stark, and the company never actually gets to see that Face ID information. In addition, Face ID does not include a photo of your face at all. If you were to look at what your iPhone is using to get Face ID working, it would be an unrecognizable mess of math.

Why Face ID is so secure

When you first set up Face ID, your iPhone will emit 30,000 invisible points from the TrueDepth camera to scan your face. As mentioned earlier, no photo is taken of your face; Instead, it takes the information from all of these invisible points and converts it into a “mathematical representation,” data that neither you, I, nor Apple could understand by just looking at it.

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These dates are then encrypted, and saved in a file that Apple calls a “safe enclave” on your device. This part is the key; Your encrypted Face ID information never leaves your iPhone. It won’t upload to iCloud when you take a backup, it won’t be sent to an Apple server, it just lives on your iPhone and never leaves.

And since it’s encrypted, only your iPhone can interpret the data. No other device can read this “math representation,” so it would be useless for a company like Apple to even use this data.

Then how does Face ID work?

Okay, if your iPhone doesn’t have a photo of your face, then how does it know you are you when you unlock your phone? It’ll be cool there. When you unlock your iPhone, the TrueDepth camera beams those 30,000 points back onto your face and creates another math representation from that data. It then compares this math string with the math representation stored on your device. If it’s a game, you’re in. If not, you will get the shaking lock icon.

The bottom line is this: Apple doesn’t see your face, and neither does your iPhone. Apple doesn’t see your Face ID information; It is securely stored on your iPhone and only accessible to you. The same goes for all apps that use Face ID for authentication, e.g. B. when you buy something on your iPhone. This app is only allowed to know whether the face scan matches or not and cannot access any of the Face ID data.

Here are some more encouraging statistics as well. If you come from an iPhone with Touch ID, Face ID is 20 times more secure. Apple claims the chance that a stranger can fool Touch ID is one in 50,000. With Face ID, it’s one in a million, according to Apple. It is also based on depth information that requires a real face. 2D images, like photos, are unlikely to fool the sensors.

Face ID is safe and secure and paired with you good passcode, it can help ensure that no one other than yourself or someone else approved is never accessing your iPhone. So the next time your iPhone wants to scan your face, you can leave it alone and comfort yourself in the knowledge that neither your phone nor Apple is really looking at you.