While the response to the iPhone X and its Face ID authentication system has generally been very positive, some users may have found it less convenient than Touch ID since only one user’s biometrics can be registered per device, but new comments from Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, suggest that it’s going to stay that way.
The comments came by way of an email response to an inquiry from a customer who, while otherwise happy with his iPhone X, wishes that he and his wife could share access to each other’s devices with multi-user Face ID. In addressing the concern, Federighi asserted, “Currently we’re focusing Face ID on single user authentication,” suggesting that Apple has no plans to allow more than one user to register their face biometrics on a single device.
Federighi didn’t explain why that was the case. One possibility is that Apple is currently preoccupied with the idea of making sure its Face ID system is considered highly accurate and secure. There’s already at least one hacker group claiming to have successfully spoofed Face ID with a mask, and allowing a single device to recognize multiple faces could further muddy the waters if consumers start seeing videos of individuals unlocking other people’s iPhones.
There had in fact been some security concerns about multiple users sharing credentials via the Touch ID fingerprint scanning system on previous iPhone models, and in his email Federighi goes so far as to say that even that system wasn’t really intended to support multiple users on a single device; rather, it “was really intended to enable a single iPhone owner to unlock the device with a finger and thumb on both hands,” Federighi’s email says.
Nevertheless, it’s still possible that multi-user support for Face ID will come to the iPhone X later on, with Federighi concluding his email, “We’ll certainly keep your feedback in mind as we consider our plans to evolve Face ID in the future.”