The iPhone 8 will detect when you're looking at it, leaked code suggests


It's the advertiser's dream: a phone that constantly follows your gaze and checks if you're paying attention — this could give a whole new perspective on what works and what doesn't in a given ad, app, or website. And while it also sounds like an element cut out from a dystopian young adult novel for being too corny, it appears Apple is planning on making it a part of our very own future.

That is, that leaked HomePod firmware from a couple of weeks back just keeps on giving. Developer Guilherme Rambo‏ is one of the many people patiently combing through obscure lines of code from a piece of software which was never meant to go public, and giving us one piece of iPhone 8 news after another. And now, he seems to have revealed another possible feature of the upcoming Apple flagship: tracking if the user's looking at the device.


What you're looking at above are a pair of strings referencing something called an "Attention Awareness Observer," which appears to control the notification sound volume. And given recent rumors of the iPhone 8's 3D facial recognition tech, a gaze tracking feature makes almost perfect sense — provided it doesn't cause too much battery drain, of course.

Now, the intro above is a bit misleading — so far, there's no indication that Apple has any intention of letting app developers access to the feature. It may well choose to keep it locked and use it for low-level OS purposes like this only, but given the unofficial nature of the findings, it's a bit too early to say. If it does, however, it would go a long way towards keeping the inevitable complaints from privacy advocates at bay. Regardless, here's hoping the entire feature can be disabled if it actually makes its way to the device.

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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51 Comments

1. Phonehex

Posts: 763; Member since: Feb 16, 2016

Samsung did this from Galaxy S4. LOL Now they call it innovation.

2. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1419; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Just Apple showing its true colors again, stealing good ideas and making it sound like they came up with it.

34. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Honestly, they don't even have to do that, they just let their media puppets invent the BS for them. This has been on Samsung phones since the S3, don't understand how this is even close to being news worthy.

40. AliGee

Posts: 20; Member since: Nov 12, 2014

It is newsworthy because the iPhone has never had it. Yes even though "we" (samsung users) have had it for a while already. I thought it was funny too...

3. BradyCrack

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 29, 2015

Is it still on the S8?

4. j2001m

Posts: 3061; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

Yes it is

21. sgodsell

Posts: 7360; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

It's been on every Galaxy smartphone since the S3. The option is called "Smart Stay". I guess the patent time of 7 years has run out, so now other OEMs, including Apple could add that feature to their smartphones.

22. Macready

Posts: 1821; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

Was already on my S2 too.

5. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

Nice joke...

24. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Truth amuses you?

7. Saioofi

Posts: 342; Member since: May 23, 2014

The phone is not even out so how do you know they call it innovation? This is getting really old and lame so quit it already

16. apple-rulz

Posts: 2112; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Problem is it never worked on the S4. Now you'll reply that for you it worked 100% of the time, so you're welcome, I saved you the trouble of typing out your lie.

17. Macready

Posts: 1821; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

No need to lie. It didn't work if you didn't know how to use it. 5 minutes of figuring out and practicing could make smart scrolling work quite reliably, with glasses. It wasn't popular and has been dropped now. But there's more, Smart Stay, which keeps track of whether you're still looking at your phone and if not, it turns off the screen. This has been present since the S2, more than 6 years ago and has been effective in its job since.

32. cmdacos

Posts: 4195; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

What was your comment yesterday about links? Links only prove you never used the device?

33. apple-rulz

Posts: 2112; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Actually that all goes back to darkkjedii saying links prove a person hasn't used a device. I throw that up now to use his own words against him, also I throw it at others now too. Anyhow, it's painfully clear I've hurt you by posting those links. I know you want to believe Samsung is perfect, but sorry kid, they are far from it.

38. Macready

Posts: 1821; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

The first link already shows you're clueless on the subject. This wasn't about face unlock, but Smart Scroll and Smart Stay. Neither of which has anything to do with unlocking the phone, a different feature altogether. As for a handful people talking about issues with Smart Stay, guess what, there are more than a billion people using phones with this feature. Do the statistics and tell me again about the significance of your targeted Google search compared to practically every tests that proves it worked and works.

41. razmahtaz001

Posts: 501; Member since: May 11, 2013

re: 30. apple-rulz (Posts: 314; Member since: 27 Dec 2016) Here sunshine; https://www.google.com/amp/thedroidguy.com/2013/11/unable-unlock-samsung-galaxy-s4-using-face-unlock-fix-78654/amp https://www.google.com/amp/s/forums.androidcentral.com/samsung-galaxy-s4/276973-smart-stay-not-working.html%3famp ============================================ why are you looking up stats from 5 yrs ago? smart stay has improved since...nice try tho LOL once an iphonie, always an iphonie LOLO

18. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

And i did expected a "it never worked" comment Lol... U guys never disappoint but kinda predictable. Ha ha.

25. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Smart Stay worked, and worked well from day one. Go back and read the reviews. (I know you don't like reading reviews of Samsung phones, because they cause your already bright red tuchis to glow in infrared.)

29. apple-rulz

Posts: 2112; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

You need reviews because you didn't actually own an S4.

20. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

Adopting technology is a good thing isn't it?

35. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1556; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

It was on the S3, and my 2012 Samsung tablet. It was labeled a useless gimmick for years by Nexus users and iPhone users.

6. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

Apple will learn the world what is the real Face ID, the others will then follow as usual.

9. SIGPRO

Posts: 2817; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

Whahah iSheep

12. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1419; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

And no doubt soon will follow how easily it's fooled like TouchID was.

26. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Yeah, just like they did to Spotify with streaming music, right?

28. apple-rulz

Posts: 2112; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

How's Samsung's Milk Music doing?

36. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1556; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

It was nothing but a skin for slacker, couldn't compete with spotify or Google Play to be honest because it wasn't meant to. It was also a free service.

43. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Couldn't care less, I'm using Google Play Music. I know how Spotify is doing, though. (Hint: Much better than Apple)

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