When Apple debuted Face ID earlier this year, along with the TrueDepth camera system in the iPhone X, there were questions regarding support for multiple faces. Namely, would the smartphone support it?
Before the device launched, though, Apple confirmed that its new biometric security measure would only support one face per device, all in an effort to keep the handset secure for the owner. This obviously brought up comparisons to the biometric security measure, Touch ID, that Face ID would be replacing. Touch ID supported up to five different fingerprints, which effectively made an iPhone or iPad capable of being unlocked by up to five people with a registered fingerprint.
The use cases are different for single individuals and those where a family might need access to a device on a regular basis. A family tablet, for instance, can still have security in place with Touch ID, but a kid won’t need to try to remember a passcode or ask a parent for permission if Touch ID has their fingerprint registered. But with Face ID as the main security measure, only the single face can be used to unlock a device.
According to a new email exchange between an Apple customer and Apple’s Craig Federighi, the company is currently focusing on keeping Face ID as a single user authentication method. Federighi does add that he’ll “keep your feedback in mind” in terms of supporting multiple faces on a Face ID-secured device, but there isn’t any reason to think, based on the response, that it’s a priority for the company by any means.
The most interesting part of the email response, though, is that Federighi admits that while Touch ID does support multiple fingers, it was never meant to be used to allow more than one person access to an Apple device. Apple saw it as a way for customers to use both hands, and multiple fingers on those hands, to unlock their device.
Here’s the exchange:
Face ID is a very secure method to lock down a device, and it is likely that Apple will roll out the feature to other devices, including the iPad lineup, sooner rather than later. However, as mentioned above, a tablet that is meant to be used by the family but is locked to a single individual might make using the device a bit more troublesome for some families. It will be interesting to see if and when Apple does roll out support for multiple faces for Face ID.