Face ID on Apple iPhone X meets its match: a 10-year-old boy
Apple’s Face ID just got dabbed on by a pre-teen.
The iPhone X‘s new biometric security system has been put to the test in all manner of ways since it debuted to the Apple-loving public earlier this month. In many of these trials, the new facial-recognition tech stands strong — but family members who share the same features have sometimes been able to circumvent the system.
That’s the case in a YouTube clip spotted by Wired that might give paranoid parents some concerns about Apple’s new security feature.
The vid shows ten-year-old Ammar Malik unlocking his mother Sana Sherwani’s new iPhone X, easily passing the Face ID barrier that Apple claims offers users a 1 in 1,000,000 chance that someone else in the general population will be able to break through. Ammar is clearly that minute exception to the rule in this case, so he celebrates accordingly with a strong dab as any self-respecting 10-year-old would.
Ammar was also able to unlock his father Attaulluh Malik’s device once, too, but has been stymied in every other attempt. The family told Wired that Sherwani was only able to bar her son from her phone after she re-scanned her face in better light conditions — but after a few more tries, it seemed like the phone’s AI system had adapted to the boy’s features, consistently giving him access again.
The boy’s father published a LinkedIn post about the family’s ordeal. Malik notes that the iPhone X’s biggest security issue comes when a malicious party gains physical access to the device, which makes more sophisticated hacks depending on sketchy masks less likely to be a concern for everyday users. Having a kid with an in-app purchase addiction and a fast track into their parent’s phone, however, could actually become a problem.
Apple didn’t respond to specific questions about the potential vulnerability, but a rep pointed us to an article on the company’s support page about Face ID. The “security safeguards” section acknowledges the system’s issues with family members:
The 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. If you’re concerned about this, we recommend using a passcode to authenticate.
That statement isn’t exactly reassuring for parents worried about their iPhone’s security from their own kids, which is probably the one scenario where it’s not unreasonable to expect outside attempts at access won’t be the result of rare (and illegal) circumstances like theft. For now, concerned iPhone X-owning parents need to do three things: test your Face ID system with your kids, make some strict rules, and, if you really don’t trust your progeny, set up a PIN code.