Apple's Face ID demo on-stage fail might not have been a Face ID fail at all

Probably the single most important new feature of the iPhone X, its Face ID that users will use tens or hundreds of times to unlock their phones every day, had failed.

At least that's what most people thought when Apple's Craig Federighi went up on stage to give the first official iPhone X demo to millions of viewers.

"Unlocking it is as easy as looking at it and swiping up," Federighi said and picked up the phone. "And, you know..."

And viewers knew that something was wrong because suddenly Federighi was all worried and sweating.

Face ID did not recognize his face. He turned off the screen and gave it a second try. "Enter Passcode. Your passcode is required to enabled Face ID," a familiar message popped up on the phone.

"Ho ho ho! Let’s go to backup here!" Federighi exclaimed and quickly took a grab of another iPhone X sitting nearby.

Luckily, everything went fine with that second unit. So... what happened?

Yahoo's David Pogue reached out to Apple to clarify and it turns out that it might not have been a Face ID fail at all. Instead, something else had happened.

Interestingly, while it takes five failed attempts for Touch ID to lock an iPhone and require a passcode, developer documentation reveals that only two failed Face ID attempts will result in a passcode request. You can watch what happened on stage with Apple's Face ID demo in the video right below, starting at the 4:11 mark.

source: Yahoo, Macrumors

Related phones

iPhone X
  • Display 5.8" 1125 x 2436 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A11 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2390 MHz
  • Storage 256GB
  • Battery 2716 mAh(21h 3G talk time)



1. meanestgenius

Posts: 22790; Member since: May 28, 2014

That could very well be the case, or it could be exactly what it sounds like: Damage Control.

8. ibend2

Posts: 159; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

Shepple Warlord: "Defense!!!"

11. meanestgenius

Posts: 22790; Member since: May 28, 2014


13. ibend2

Posts: 159; Member since: Mar 16, 2016


44. meanestgenius

Posts: 22790; Member since: May 28, 2014

No worries.

48. sgodsell

Posts: 7611; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

One thing is for sure. You have to train the iPhone X by moving your face around. Now it also depends on where you trained it, because of lighting conditions. Not to mention if you trained it with a clean shaven face, and over time your hair grows, and you let those nose hairs bloom. There is chance of course failing. God help women. One day they have smokey eyes with big poofy lips, and the next day they are a scruffy dog. Then there is foundation. Does any here believe that Apple's new face Id will be as fast or as reliable as touch ID? If you actually think that, then you are in for a disappointing time with Apple's new face ID.

52. ecmedic4

Posts: 520; Member since: May 02, 2013

If you did not watch the keynote, having a clean shaven face then not shaving for awhile shouldn't matter, neither should your hair being longer or shorter, if you put on a hat, etc. It learns your face over time and with the 3D mapping of the contours of your face and things, it still unlocks. That is how it is designed to work, but obviously we will have to wait for real world results. Until real world results, no one can fairly say how well it will work or not work. How about give it a chance?? Is that a lost concept now days?

33. DBoss

Posts: 102; Member since: Feb 18, 2017

I think Phonearena doing a better job in advertising than the actual Apple homepage!! :D :D

27. Well-Manicured-Man

Posts: 727; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

Why did Face ID then work with the 2nd iPhone? It’s the same software.

41. izim1

Posts: 1617; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Is this a serious question? Either all devices work or all fail, huh?

45. meanestgenius

Posts: 22790; Member since: May 28, 2014

Why did tit fail the on the first phone? A fail is a fail. Accept it and move on.

54. ph00ny

Posts: 2074; Member since: May 26, 2011

Maybe the rubbing/wiping his face helped. Maybe something on his face was reflective (ie sweat/makeup)

56. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

Oh my god, this comment proves a high level of stupidity. Hopefully it is a joke.

59. meanestgenius

Posts: 22790; Member since: May 28, 2014

The irony of you saying anyone has a high level of stupidity is absolutely mind-boggling.

63. buccob

Posts: 2981; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

In my opinion either way it is still a fail because you have to swipe even after being recognized, so the total time from lock to unlock is longer than what TouchID and other fingerprint scanner methods are in today's phone

2. TerryD

Posts: 560; Member since: May 09, 2017

Great. You just need to get that message out to the millions of people that now think that it doesn't work very well. Good new, Face ID works really well. Bad news, Apple management don't know how to use their new phones.

3. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2513; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

While I do believe in this instance it was not the Face ID that went wrong, I still have reservations about the technology in terms of ease of use and being as quick as Touch ID to unlock a device. Most people right now can unlock their devices while it’s sitting on a desk with just a tap of their finger, but with this you have to actually pick up the device and hold it up to your face to unlock. I can just feel the frustration of people who will have to pick up their devices and hold it up in order to unlock or to have to constantly enter a passcode to be able to access their devices. With that being said, I look forward to next year when I’m sure we will see the return of Touch ID in the screen.

12. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1485; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

While I didn't watch the announcement, from what I've read Apple was very careful in its selection of words surrounding how secure it actually is. Once it's out I'm sure we'll find out the truth. People are eager to prove it's not all its claimed to be and I think they're right.

4. notfair

Posts: 776; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

I mean... with a face like Federighi's no wonder it didn't work ...

31. LumiaLover

Posts: 237; Member since: Sep 27, 2012

That's funny...he's way too ugly for Face ID lol

32. LumiaLover

Posts: 237; Member since: Sep 27, 2012

Mind you, I'd rather have his money and be ugly!!

6. whatev

Posts: 2444; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

Ok, but the cancer is spreaded throughout the whole internet, they should care about these mistakes to avoid the bad press and haters euphoria

9. ibend2

Posts: 159; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

Let's wait for actual product, to see if it really work, or not.. Apple still have time to fix that

49. ShaikhJGI

Posts: 361; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

What I don't like about Apple is there courage to lie blatantly to millions out there. "Don't give me excuse that people used the demo phone previously so it failed". If this is true, this will be worst presentation preparation & quality management from worlds No1 company. Especially while launching something which is worth billions & "Suppose" to change the face of the technology. Bloody hell :D :D


Posts: 2817; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

Failure is a Failure!

14. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Hohohoh is the new courage.

22. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1529; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

Hohoho gate!!

18. theunspoken

Posts: 310; Member since: Jul 06, 2017

That oops moment, when the face ID doesn't recognize its owner.

19. YeahYeah

Posts: 251; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

Excuses my foot. It failed period...

23. Mr.Pussy

Posts: 348; Member since: Feb 16, 2017


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