Is the iPhone X struggling to put a name to the face? Apple’s $999 smartphone introduced a Face ID recognition system when it went on sale in November 2017, but the replacement for the Touch ID fingerprint scanner may have some trouble authenticating the user in a limited number of circumstances. The company issued a new service policy, uncovered on Sunday, that seems to suggest a link between the rear camera failing and the front camera struggling with faces.
MacRumors has obtained a copy of a document distributed to Apple Stores and authorized third parties, which reads: “In order to provide the best customer experience, if a customer reports that their iPhone X is having Face ID issues, you may be able to resolve the issue with a rear camera repair. Run AST 2 on the customer’s device to check the camera. If the diagnostics find issue with the camera, perform the repair to see if the issue is resolved. If the issue is not resolved, perform a whole unit replacement instead of a same-unit display repair.”
The feature is a big change for Apple, which removed the home button present since the original iPhone in 2007 and switched to a gesture-based system. The “notch” at the top of the screen houses a TrueDepth sensor, similar to a Microsoft Kinect, that beams infrared to scan a user’s face. Apple claims the system is so precise there’s only a one in a million chance the phone will unlock with the wrong face.
Users experiencing an issue may want to take their phone to the store to get an expert response. The document claims that stores are authorized to switch out the entire device instead of performing a screen repair. This display repair process came under criticism after it was discovered the iOS 11.3 software update disabled the ambient light sensor if a screen repair came from an unauthorized third party. The “Horizon” machine, shipped to some 4,800 repair partners, enables Face ID repairs without triggering the phone security.
Apple is set to give developers a clearer idea of its future iPhone plans at its Worldwide Developers Conference, scheduled for June 4, where the company is expected to deliver a keynote speech detailing upgrades to its iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS product lines.
All signs point to the Face ID staying in the product line for now. Chief designer Jony Ive is so confident about the iPhone X design he referred to it as “a new chapter” in the company’s history.