Ever since stumbling out of the gate at the iPhone X unveiling last September, Apple’s Face ID technology has had its share of criticism and controversy. Whether it was a child being able to unlock his mother’s phone, users inadvertently “training” it to recognized their sibling, or the system being tricked by a mask multiple times, the state-of-the-art face recognition system has seen its share of bumps in the road.
While Apple has always maintained that Face ID works as it was designed and remains more secure than fingerprint scanners, a recent internal memo obtained by MacRumors indicates that the system is not without flaws. Some users have encountered problems with Face ID not responding correctly. Cupertino is aware of the problem and has updated its repair policy to accommodate for the issue.
Apple Stores and other authorized service providers have received instructions on how to handle the problem devices.
“In order to provide the best customer experience, if a customer reports that their iPhone X is having Face ID issues, you may be able to resolve the issue with a rear camera repair. Run AST 2 on the customer’s device to check the camera. If the diagnostics find issue with the camera, perform the repair to see if the issue is resolved. If the issue is not resolved, perform a whole unit replacement instead of a same-unit display repair.”
What is strange is that to resolve the problem technicians are to perform a rear-camera repair. This solution is unusual since the rear camera has nothing to do with facial recognition.
Face ID's "TrueDepth" system uses the front-facing camera along with several other sensors to map a user’s features. How any of these components tie into the functionality of the rear camera is anybody’s guess as Apple is not telling.
If the repair fails to fix the Face ID issue, service providers are instructed to do a full-device replacement.
The Face ID problem does not seem that widespread, but if you own an iPhone X and do experience any issues with it not unlocking, take it in to get it serviced.