With the iOS 12 beta now rolling out, it’s becoming clear that Apple has reversed course on a previous policy restricting Face ID authentication to one user per device.
As 9to5Mac reports, there is a new feature in the Face ID & Passcode Settings area of iOS 12 allowing users to “Set Up an Alternate Appearance”. It’s an odd way to characterize what is essentially a feature allowing the user to add another person’s face to the biometric authentication system. That means if you enable Face ID for your partner, for example, either your face or theirs could unlock the iPhone, and could even be used to confirm transactions on Apple Pay.
It’s a somewhat surprising development after Apple SVP Craig Federighi insisted last December that Face ID was intended only for the authentication of one device user. But it may be another sign that Face ID is coming to the iPad, given that it’s more common for Apple’s tablet devices to be shared among multiple users than it is for iPhones.
In any case, the support for multi-user Face ID authentication should arrive as a welcome development both to those individuals trusting enough to share their personal smartphones and tablets with others, and to people who are two-faced.