Matthew Panzarino from TechCrunch interviewed Craig in regards to the many questions surrounding Face ID since its introduction on Tuesday. There’s a lot of great content in the article, but here’s a few excerpts:
On privacy and security:
When it comes to customers — users — Apple gathers absolutely nothing itself. Federighi was very explicit on this point.
“We do not gather customer data when you enroll in Face ID, it stays on your device, we do not send it to the cloud for training data,” he notes.
On accessing face data/providing it to law enforcement:
The simple answer, which is identical to the answer for Touch ID, by the way, is that Apple does not even have a way to give it to law enforcement. Apple never takes possession of the data, anonymized or otherwise. When you train the data it gets immediately stored in the Secure Enclave as a mathematical model that cannot be reverse-engineered back into a “model of a face.” Any re-training also happens there. It’s on your device, in your SE, period.
I’ll say it again: Apple is the privacy and security tech company because we are not the product.
How to temporarily disable Face ID:
On older phones the sequence was to click 5 times [on the power button], but on newer phones like iPhone 8 and iPhone X, if you grip the side buttons on either side and hold them a little while — we’ll take you to the power down [screen]. But that also has the effect of disabling Face ID,” says Federighi.
Matt on the reliance of Face ID:
Everyone I’ve spoken to who has been in a position to be using it for weeks or months says it’s incredibly reliable no matter the light level. The combination of using the RGB camera and the IR emitter plus the dot projector covers a wide array of scenarios that allow it to be very reliable and very fast.
If you lift your phone and swipe up immediately, there’s a good chance that the Face ID system will have performed its authentication fast enough to have unlocked your device by the time you finish your swipe. That’s how fast it is.
This is a bit of an aside, but I’d also like to point out here that Face ID emits no visible light. I’ve seen some misconceptions on social media that it’s going to be shining a light at your face. Nope. It uses only infrared and existing light, which means it will work in darkness without any more light than is coming off of the phone’s screen.
This was surprising to me, that people really thought it was going to shine a visible light.
I feel confident Face ID will work well. Apple wouldn’t ship it if it didn’t. It’s also clear this will eventually replace Touch ID for every applicable Apple product — and this is only generation one of the feature. Can you imagine how much better it’s going to get over the coming years? I could even see a path for it to be in a future Apple TV (for authenticating purchases and whatnot). This is only the beginning of how our computers will start to know us and our intent. Exciting times.