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 256 GB
  • Battery 2716 mAh(21h 3G talk time)

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64 Comments

1. meanestgenius

Posts: 22084; 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: 22084; Member since: May 28, 2014

*Sheeple.

13. ibend2

Posts: 159; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

Thanks..

44. meanestgenius

Posts: 22084; Member since: May 28, 2014

No worries.

48. sgodsell

Posts: 7369; 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: 688; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

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

41. izim1

Posts: 1599; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

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

45. meanestgenius

Posts: 22084; 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: 2031; 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: 22084; Member since: May 28, 2014

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

63. buccob

Posts: 2968; 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: 546; 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: 2368; 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.

5. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

"you have to actually pick up the device and hold it up to your face to unlock" Plus, you need to swipe. I really don't like the way Face ID works (I also think Touch ID is not as nice as Huawei or Pixel system - which don't require a press to activate).

7. ibend2

Posts: 159; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

And remember when they say backside FPS (on pixel and S8) is stupid because you need to lift it to unlock it, and now you even need to hold it up to your face to unlock it, lol.. Checking notification can't be more frustating than that.. Backside FPS, and always-on-screen is really brilliant idea afterall

16. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I still think the back of the phone is the stupidest place for a fp scanner.

21. iushnt

Posts: 3105; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

Do u think it is still stupid than not having it at all?

26. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I was talking about what I like and I don't like about fp scanner; I am sure that the future will get us better unlock methods so I have no opinion about devices without fp scanners.

36. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

or even better embedded into the power button like Sony.

46. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

If the power button is on the bottom front of the phone, yes; if it's on the sides, no (there are right handed and left handed people, one of them will have problems unlocking the devices).

58. sgodsell

Posts: 7369; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

It's actually really smart. Especially when the phone is in your pocket. You just have to grab the phone out of your pocket, and feel the back of the phone to place your finger on the sensor. It's very easy. Plus you don't touch the screen or the front of the phone at all to unlock it. Besides some rear finger print scanners allow you to swipe up and down to look at your notifications. Leo_MC I know you are a die hard iPhone user. But to say that putting a for scanner on the back of the phone is stupid, really makes you look stupid.

60. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Back fp scanner is stupid, period.

61. bobby84

Posts: 595; Member since: May 13, 2016

Well with an iPhone x u got nothing to worry about

62. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

True :).

15. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

I think they should've embedded touch id to Apple logo this time.. that would've been nice right?

17. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

NO-NO-NO! The fp place is in the front.

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