Face unlock explained

An overview of facial recognition security…
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Face unlock explained

Let’s face it - 2018 was full of top trends in mobile. In the last year we’ve seen a rise in artificial intelligence and the shrinking of bezels on smartphones – and in some cases we’ve even seen them disappear completely. Another trend was the introduction of more advanced versions of facial recognition. Want to know more? We’ll explain how it works and how it differs between manufacturers.

How facial recognition works

You might be one of those people that never forgets a face, well that’s how facial recognition technology works too – but on a grand, algorithmic scale. Instead of a face, the recognition technology sees data. That data can then be stored and accessed. However, each manufacturer has a slightly different way of going about face recognition…

iPhone X face recognition

iPhone X and other newer Apple models use a TrueDepth camera system – but what does this actually mean? Read on…

How it works:
OK, here comes the complicated bit. For starters, there’s an infrared camera that reads the dot pattern, captures an infrared image, then sends the data to the A11 Bionic chip to confirm a match. There’s also a dot projector that beams more than 30,000 invisible dots onto your face to build your unique facial map. And finally the flood illuminator is an invisible infrared light that helps identify your face even when it’s dark. All these things combined add reassurance that your iPhone could most definitely pick you out of a lineup.

Samsung face recognition with iris scanner

Samsung uses facial recognition technology that’s pretty simple and similar to Android stock software. During setup, your smartphone asks you to be at a distance of about 20 to 50 cm from your device, which can get a little awkward if you’re out and about. Then, it scans your face and head, memorising the distance between your features – and all the other stuff that makes you, you.

But the added touch of security comes from the iris scanner. Everyone’s eyes have a unique makeup, much like a fingerprint. That’s how you can rest easy knowing that nobody is getting access to your phone other than you.

Android Face Unlock

On most Android phones the Face Unlock procedure is simple. The appearance of your face is detected from the front camera and then the scan is recorded offline on your phone.

Then, each time you unlock your smartphone, it uses the front camera for recognition, comparing the original scan to what the camera sees. This might prove difficult if you’re wearing sunglasses. If your phone has trouble recognising your face, you can always revert back to the primitive passcode option. Though somehow, that just feels old fashioned now, doesn’t it?!

Do you use facial recognition on your phone? Got any questions on how it works? We’ll unlock the answers to any questions in the comments below.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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