The iPhone X’s major feature was its facial recognition technology. It animates emoji, lets you put masks on your selfies, and, more importantly, lets you use Apple Pay (if you’re one of the few people who actually do that) and unlock your phone. So, when it glitched slightly during Tuesday’s keynote, people were wondering just what happened. The answer, it turns out, is that Face ID works a bit too well.
Some background is in order. Face ID scans your face and uses a mix of infrared photography and a dot-map of your face to verify that you are you. The phone will only perform crucial features if it’s got a good straight-on look at your face. It won’t unlock if you’re looking away from the screen, have your eyes closed, or your face is otherwise obscured. And if multiple faces stare at your phone at once, it takes that as somebody trying to breach your phone and reverts to a passcode.
That’s what happened on Tuesday, it turns out, as an Apple spokesperson explained to Yahoo!:
“People were handling the device for stage demo ahead of time,” says a rep, “and didn’t realize Face ID was trying to authenticate their face. After failing a number of times, because they weren’t Craig, the iPhone did what it was designed to do, which was to require his passcode.”
Apple has been security focused, lately, and this may be a hint as to why it’s on their minds. After all, nobody’s going to want to use a talking unicorn emoji if they think it means their credit card will get stolen.