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Early Face ID Identical Twins Tests Show Mixed Results

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Early Face ID Identical Twins Tests Show Mixed Results

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The iPhone X will be available to buy in India and a lot of other countries from the 3rd of November. When the smartphone went up for pre-orders on the 27th of October, it was sold out within minutes, showcasing a 180-degree repsonse to the iPhone 8 got at the time of its launch. The big 5.8 inch OLED display with minimal bezels around it on the iPhone X meant that the iconic home button/Touch ID got the axe. It was replaced with Face ID, which Apple claims much more secure than Touch ID with the probability of someone else unlocking your iPhone X with Face ID being 1 in 1,000,000 compared 1 in 50,000 with Touch ID.

One question that came to everyone’s mind when Apple announced the Face ID was ‘what about identical twins?’ Apple even joked about it on stage and said that Face ID’s security is lower when it comes to identical twins. Now that a lot of outlets have had a few days to play around with the new iPhone X, videos of identical twins trying to fool Face ID were bound to surface online. So far, from what we’ve seen, the results are mixed with no definitive ‘Yes Face ID can’t be fooled’ or ‘No, it is very much possible to fool it with your identical twin’. Apple released a white paper a few weeks ago chronicling how the Face ID works, but, while it mentions a higher false match, it didn’t give any specifics.

The probability that a random person in the population could look at your iPhone X and unlock it using Face ID is approximately 1 in 1,000,000 (versus 1 in 50,000 for Touch ID). The probability of a false match is different for twins and siblings that look like you as well as among children under the age of 13, because their distinct facial features may not have fully developed.

News outlets like Mashable and Tech Insider shared videos of identical twins trying to fool Face ID in different circumstances. Mashable’s test saw the other identical twin unlocking the iPhone X even though their face was not stored in the phone.

With both sets of twins, the other twin unlocked the iPhone X, even though neither one had registered his face with Face ID on the iPhone X. With the Franklin twins, we had both brothers remove their glasses and had the other brother register. Again, Face ID failed to tell the difference.

Tech Insider also ran the test on a pair of identical twins and saw an opposite result. In this case, the other twin was not able to open the iPhone X and vice versa.

With every technology, there is a chink in its armour. We will be nitpicking if we say that Face ID has failed on the basis of two or three videos and very few tests. Face ID has replaced Touch ID and people moving on to the iPhone X will have to make do with Face ID and so far, people without an identical twin have found Face ID accurate and easy to use (including us).

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Vipul Vij
Vipul Vij