Why Face ID Is Much More Secure Than Android’s Face Unlock

Face ID

Unlocking your phone using your face is the new feature, mainly thanks to Apple Face ID. Android has had a similar feature since 2015 called Trusted Face, but it's not even close to the same thing.

How does Face ID work?

Apple has put a lot of technology to make Face ID work in a way that is not only intuitive and precise, but also incredibly secure. In short, it creates a 3D map of your face using a combination of infrared light and image capture. Forbes did a great job to explain this:

It uses infrared (IR) light to illuminate your face while capturing images, to work day or night, outdoors or indoors. The IR spans wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation (commonly known as "light") just beyond the visible spectrum, so that the screen of the iPhone X will not dazzle you in the dark.

Face ID menu

In simpler terms, it uses a variety of sensors combined with the device's camera to create a 3D map of what you really look like – which is why it works in the dark or in the dark. light, with a hat on, with or without glasses, and everything in between. All of this technology is why the iPhone X series has a notch – that's where the hardware is.

In other words, it uses much more than a simple image.

RELATED: How secure is Face ID and Touch ID?

How does Trusted Face work?

In contrast, the Trusted Face feature of Android (formerly called Face Unlock) is nothing more than a stored image of your face. In fact, you can trick him fairly easily with a printed image. It’s bad.

Android Trusted Face Menu

The exception to the rule here is when a phone combines Trusted Face / Face Unlock with another form of biometric verification, like the iris scanner found on Samsung Galaxy phones. modern. But, even then, this is only used as a security measure to unlock your phone; it cannot be used to connect to secure apps such as banking software, credit monitoring apps or anything else that you can unlock with a fingerprint.

OnePlus 6T face unlock options Smart scanning on the Galaxy S9

Why? Because it is not secure enough. When apps accept Face ID as a real security feature, this is not the case for Android. In fact, APIs don't even exist for that yet.

Better face unlock for Android is coming (probably)

Now, all that said, Google realizes that a truly secure face unlock is something people want, especially those who have used Face ID (and know how awesome it is). The word on the street is that Android Q – the next version of Android that will be released later this year –will offer functionality comparable to Face ID.

Of course, for it to be as secure as Face ID, it will also require hardware support. Infrared scanning and deep mapping are requirements for the functionality to be truly secure, so phones that do not already have this hardware (read: just about all phones currently) will not be compatible with its functionality improved even if they get updated to Android Q.

It should be noted that this was only a theory at the time – a few lines of exposed code simply suggested an improvement in Trusted Face (which could potentially be given a different name if that were it. turns out to be true) in Android Q. We won't really know until Google announces Q, which won't be much later this year.

But in the meantime, remember that Trusted Face / Face Unlock is nothing more than convenience and does not offer real security.

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