Hide your kids: 10-year-old gets into parents’ iPhone X with Face ID

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You don’t even need a cheap, 3D-printed mask to break through Face ID authentication — just a kid under 13 whose facial features have yet to fully develop.

In Apple’s whitepaper on Face ID security, it generally lists out a one-in-a-million chance that a face other than the one logged into the iPhone X, save for twins or relatively same-looking siblings or even people. And then there’s this whopper:

[…] as well as among children under the age of 13, because their distinct facial Face ID Security features may not have fully developed. If you’re concerned about this, we recommend using a passcode to authenticate.

Cue Ammar Malik. He’s 10 years old and in the fifth grade. His parents, Attaullah Malik — who happens to at a higher education tech firm called Taskstream — and Sana Sherwani, bought new a pair of iPhone X for themselves. He just wanted to have a look at them and see if Face ID was just as it was cut out to be.

Whoops.

It turned out that Ammar was able to consistently unlock Sherwani’s iPhone X from the moment of first contact through to when the above video was shot and beyond. As for father Malik’s iPhone X, the son was able to get in once and only once — seemingly a fluke. This is in spite of the fact that Ammar’s face is smaller than his parents’ and that he generally is likened to Malik more often than to Sana.

“It was funny at first. But it wasn’t really funny afterward,” Malik told WIRED. “My wife and I text all the time and there might be something we don’t want him to see. Now my wife has to delete her texts when there’s something she doesn’t want Ammar to look at.”

The convenience of Face ID is still appealing to the parents. With curious children, though, protecting privacy will be challenging with this only biometric security measure on the iPhone X.

Non-identical siblings have been able to authenticate through Face ID. As Apple is reportedly prepared to spread the TrueDepth camera component that enables Face ID to other products throughout the next year, there’s talk that it won’t be improved for the time being as to sustain a healthy production rate. Manufacturing issues have reportedly tightened supply of the iPhone X in its early run.

When reached for comment, Apple directed the media to its aforementioned whitepaper and some support text.

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About The Author
Jules Wang

Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.