Love or hate the iPhone X notch that so many Android device manufacturers are (allegedly not) copying, the divisive screen cutout did make Face ID integration possible, which was probably the top selling point of Apple’s most expensive handset yet.
But although there’s currently no rivaling the complexity, convenience and security of Cupertino’s 3D facial recognition implementation, no technology is perfect, and occasionally, Face ID issues do arise.
When that happens, you may expect the front-facing TrueDepth camera or the display in its entirety to be replaced, but for some reason, authorized service providers are now advised to try repairing the rear shooter first.
If that doesn’t work, an internal note recently issued to Apple Store technicians and sanctioned service providers recommends the “whole unit” be replaced rather than a “same-unit display repair” be attempted.
So, there you have it. If Face ID fails to authenticate you and allow quick and easy access to your fancy $999 device and its intuitive mobile payment interface, you’ll either get your rear-facing camera or the entire phone replaced.
Clearly, there are still plenty of things we don’t fully understand about the underlying Face ID technology, like exactly how might the rear and front cameras be connected in such a way that the former’s issues can cause the latter to misfire. Perhaps this is one of the reasons Samsung is finding it so hard to implement a 3D sensing feature of its own.