iPhone facial recognition camera, aka Face ID, is built into certain Apple iPhone models to provide secure unlocking of the device. For Face ID to work, it requires you to point the camera at your face. If the face is identified as matching the stored data, the phone is unlocked.
However, beyond working as a tool for security, you also want to know if this can be used to spy against you. After all, anything that can be used to recognise you is potentially a dangerous tool; right?
The world got the first taste of the iPhone facial recognition camera in 2017 with the launch of the iPhone X. Apple says it uses 30,000 points of reference to map out a user’s face. Pretty cool, futuristic stuff.
Facial recognition has been studied and experimented with as a means of tracking and surveillance for years. while the technology is relatively new to smartphones, it has existed outside of the smartphone world.
Police departments and higher level government security agencies have been using facial recognition scans to identity wanted persons. Now, with the iPhone facial recognition camera, individuals are actually carrying around a device that can potentially do the same.
Apple assures users that the facial ID data that your iPhone collects is secure and not accessible by anyone, Apple staff included. But there is the question of what Apple would do should the government, for example, issue an order requesting them to scan for certain profiles or targets.
Well, they can’t comply with such an order, because the iPhone facial recognition data is not stored on Apple’s servers or any other server. It is stored on the phone itself. Apple does not have access to it. And it is completely encrypted as well.
For anyone to spy on you with the iPhone facial recognition camera system, they would first have to steal your iPhone and hack it, then find a way to decrypt the information. Errrr….that’s not a very elegant procedure. Unless you have access to nuclear launch codes, no-one is going to go to those lengths to access that data.
Of course, the government already has the capacity to track you via your iPhone and other mobile devices by accessing the regular camera remotely, so they do not really need the iPhone facial recognition camera system for this.
How safe is the iPhone facial recognition camera?
In summary, Face ID is quite secure and safe to use. There is little chance that it can be used to spy against you, so you shouldn’t get worried about having a phone with a facial recognition camera. If government wanted to track you via your phone, chances are that they are already doing it, Face ID or not.
If you want to buy an Apple iPhone X or other device that supports Face ID but are concerned about the facial recognition camera, don’t worry your head. Go ahead and enjoy your new phone.
iPhone and iPad models that have facial recognition camera
The iPhone X is not the only Apple product with Face ID. The following iPhones and iPads all have the iPhone facial recognition camera system and so support Face ID.
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 mini
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XR
- iPhone X
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation)
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation)
- iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation)
- iPad Pro 11-inch
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Way back from the days of EPOC, Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems, founder of MobilityArena, Mister Mobility, has owned a few hundred smartphones and tablets, and counting.