If you are a parent with children who looks very much like you, you might want to reconsider using Face ID on your iPhone X. A recent video shows that a 10-year old boy was able to unlock his mum’s iPhone X using Face ID registered to her face. It only took one try, and at a glance, the iPhone X instantly unlocked.
According to Attaullan Malik and Sana Sherwani, the parents of 10-year old Ammar Malik, it was not even an intentional attempt to fool Face ID. The boy was excited to try out his mum’s newly purchased iPhone X, which has already been registered to the mother’s face, but managed to unlock it with just a look.
“We are seeing a flood of videos on YouTube from iPhone users who have gotten their hands on the new iPhone X and are trying to trick the Face ID. When my wife and I received our iPhone X, we had no such intention. However, things changed right after we were done setting up our new iPhones on November 3rd. We were sitting down in our bedroom and were just done setting up the Face IDs, our 10-year-old son walked in anxious to get his hands on the new iPhone X. Right away my wife declared that he was not going to access her phone. Acting exactly as a kid would do when asked to not do something, he picked up her phone and with just a glance got right in.”
Not only was the boy able to replicate the unlocking process multiple times, he was able to unlock his father’s iPhone X as well, however, only on one attempt. A reporter from Wired suggested that Sherwani re-registered her face again, and after doing so, Ammar could no longer access the phone. Sherwani repeated the process again using the same indoor, night lighting conditions as when she first set up her phone, and the boy could access her iPhone X once again.
Apple did mention before in its security paper that the probability of a false match for children under the age of 13 is higher, so this isn’t totally unexpected. However, while children will not steal information from their parents’ phones, it’s still risky because they might be able to purchase things from the App Store.
It’s not really a surprise that Apple’s Face ID can be fooled by identical twins or even triplets, but between two people of different gender and a wide age gap? That’s something parents should be aware of.