Guess who made biometric security a growing trend? Apple. Yes, as usual, Apple was late to the biometric party. And, yes, as usual, Apple made it better than early adopters and even better than copycats.
Biometric security can be summed up by 1) Touch ID, Apple’s fingerprint sensor technology, and 2) Face ID, Apple’s face recognition technology, both of which give customers vastly improved security with remarkably simple convenience. So, what about the copycats?
Make. It. Work.
Let’s face it and put the finger on the real problem with convenient security. Before Touch ID and Face ID, most of it didn’t work worth a patootie. Most of it still doesn’t work well and the industry leader remains… insert Mac360’s *patented drum roll here… Apple because Apple made it work the way God intended. Higher security with higher convenience.
How’s your Dutch? If it’s real good you’ll get all the details in a language you understand. Otherwise, English is available to give you details on the Dutch study of nearly a ten dozen smartphones with facial recognition.
The study tested 110 smartphones and was able to unlock 42 of them (though some of them were mere variants of the same models, i.e. Samsung Galaxy A8 with 32GB and 64GB of RAM) with a high-resolution photo of the owner. An additional 6 models (again, some are variants) also failed the test, but they did offer a stricter security setting for face recognition.
Generally speaking, the cheap-assed smartphones with facial recognition could be fooled with little more than a black and white photo.
If you were an iPhone owner then you were on the big list but with familiar company. For example, the list included Samsung’s more expensive Galaxy models. A bunch of Lenovo smartphones you’ve never heard of, a few of the Huawei Mate smartphones you can’t easily buy in the U.S. (the U.S. government, among many, does not like Huawei), and a few others, including one lonely Motorola smartphone.
Researchers note that some of these phones will warn you that face recognition isn’t the safest option for keeping the data on your smartphone private. But users should be aware that, in some cases, all it takes to unlock a phone is a printed photo of the owner.
What we don’t know and researchers did not discover, is exactly how Face ID competitors managed their facial recognition scheme. Apple keeps the pertinent data on your iPhone (or, on iPad Pro which has Face ID, too), but devices that run Android OS have a terrible track record for user privacy and security.
Face ID on my iPhone Xs Max works better than it did on iPhone X (I’m on the iPhone Upgrade Program) and it seldom asks for a password (always asks when the device is powered on or restarted), and in iOS 12, there is added convenience where multiple faces can be used to unlock the devices (handy for a spouse, for example).
Face ID is what Apple says Face ID is. It’s a simple method to get higher security matched to higher convenience.
*not really patented.