Apple: iPhone X’s Facial Recognition is Not for Children under 13


Apple has announced that children should not use the facial recognition technology of the new iPhone, stating that faces of those under-13 could be too similar to each other to guard phones against intruders.

The iPhone X, which is scheduled to go on sale next month, uses Face ID, a facial recognition system, to unlock phones, gain access to apps, and verify payments. It has a collection of sensors at the top of the phone that scan the users’ face and compare it to the model that is stored on the phone.

Apple states that the possibilities that an imposter will be able to trick the system are one in a million, which makes facial recognition more secure than the one in 50,000 chance that somebody else could trick a phone’s fingerprint scanner.

However, the company maintains that since faces of those under-13 are still developing, thus, there is a bigger chance that the feature may not work as intended and other children – especially sisters or brothers – will be able to access the phone.

“The [one in a million] statistical probability is different for twins and siblings that look like you and among children under the age of 13, because their distinct facial features may not have fully developed,” said Apple. It suggested using a PIN code on the phone to lock it instead.

The iPhone X, which was first revealed two weeks ago, will cost customers £999 when it goes on sale in October, so it is not likely to be a popular choice for parents buying the first mobile phone of their child.

The handset’s facial recognition cameras and sensors project thousands of invisible light beams onto the face of the user, formulating a three-dimensional model so that it cannot be fooled by photographs.

Apple states that it has enlisted Hollywood studios to ensure that realistic face masks will not be able to unlock the phone and that the privacy of the users is protected because the data never disappears from the phone itself.

To work, the cameras have to be able to see the user’s eyes, mouth, and nose, so niqab, balaclava, and burka wearers will not be able to make use of the feature. However, it can see through hats, glasses, and beards.