If it were not for the masks, we would not be so disgusted with Apple's Face ID.
Even though the neural engine of the iPhone's A-series chip has a mechanism of "self-learning", it can make Face ID recognize you behind the mask through multiple training and other mechanisms, but this is actually not reliable.
▲ Masks make the once efficient Face ID helpless. Image from: tomsguide
I remember that in April this year, the iPhone suddenly recognized me wearing a mask, which made me feel like a child has grown up. But the good times didn't last long. As I stayed at home for a few weeks and the frequency of wearing masks decreased, it turned around and forgot about me who was wearing a mask, very ruthless.
The Face ID of the iPhone keeps learning. It can remember you wearing a mask, and it can also be quickly forgotten. This is not a long-term solution.
Recently, in the iOS 14.5 beta, support for unlocking iPhone with Apple Watch has been added, which can alleviate the difficulty of Face ID. However, for those users who do not have Apple Watch, they will not enjoy this "ecological advantage". Apple Watch unlocking iPhone is not the "final solution", it should be a "delay strategy."
At the same time, there are endless rumors that the new iPhone will use "under-screen fingerprints", and it seems to be firmly established. And the new iPhone will retain the fingerprint and Face ID under the screen, which complement each other to facilitate the user's choice, or to deal with different situations (wearing a mask).
Is Touch ID really going to return?
Face ID made two changes to the mask
Faced with the impact of masks, Apple’s response strategy was conservative. It was not until the iOS 13.5 Beta 3 firmware at the end of April that the unlocking scheme was optimized.
Let’s review it first. Before iOS 13.5, when the iPhone saw a “mask”, Face ID could not recognize your face, it would confirm it again and again, and then the password interface would pop up after 1 second. Of course, you can also click the "face icon" on the Face ID interface to skip the recognition process and enter the password directly. Either way, it does not simplify the identification process, and even makes unlocking more complicated.
▲ iOS 13.5 has made some optimizations for the epidemic. Picture from: Brandon Butch
iOS 13.5 Beta 3 added the recognition of masks. After recognizing the mask, directly "give up" face recognition and directly pop up the password interface, which is an optimization of the unlocking process.
The latest iOS 14.5 Beta 1 is a step further on this basis. Similar to the MacBook, it can be unlocked with Apple Watch, playing the "ecology". The specific "unlocking experience" and "security", I won't go into details here, you can move to the article "I can finally unlock the iPhone with a mask, but we found these problems after experiencing it " article.
It took nearly a year from the beginning of wearing masks to the introduction of a more reasonable solution. The unlocking of the Apple Watch this time is still a "temporary cure, not a permanent cure" solution. From the reality, it is clear that Touch ID needs to be better and more convenient, and the call for Touch ID to return is becoming stronger.
In the face of "masks", Face ID is indeed easy to "defeat". The advantages of Touch ID are prominent. Some friends around me switched to iPhone SE2 equipped with Touch ID due to the unlocking method, or even switched to Android.
In the Android camp, fingerprints under the screen are almost standard, and 3D structured light biometrics similar to Face ID are almost absent. They have embarked on a different path from Apple. Naturally, they are more adaptable to “masks” and bring experience. Better. Then, why did Apple choose Face ID instead of fingerprints?
Why does Apple bet on Face ID, and the fingerprints on the screen are not fragrant?
Face ID was released along with iPhone X. iPhone X laid the foundation for the design style of Liu Haiping, and Face ID led Apple's new generation of biometric technology.
Now we know that Face ID is based on 3D structured light. It scans and records the face through radar. It is not affected by glasses, beards, hats, etc., and will "grow" with your face over time, making full use of A The computing power of the neural engine of the bionic chip.
When Face ID was first launched, its security was questioned. Apple stated at the press conference and official website that Face ID is 20 times higher than Touch ID. The former is one in a million and the latter is One in fifty thousand. In other words, when upgrading from Touch ID to Face ID, the security level is also upgraded.
In addition, under normal conditions, the user experience of Face ID is actually higher than that of Touch ID. No sense is the biggest advantage of Face ID. There is no need to do a "press" action, just a swipe of your eyes to complete the identification and unlocking. At the same time, Face ID is not affected by the environment, and can provide a consistent experience regardless of whether it is day or night or cold and hot. Relatively speaking, Touch ID still has certain conditions.
▲ Stay on Touch ID under the screen on the imaginary picture.
In fact, before the release of the iPhone X, Apple already had a patent for under-screen fingerprints, so there was a lot of news in the supply chain that the new iPhone would be on-screen and off-screen Touch ID. Later, we all knew about Apple's choice.
Choose Face ID, on the one hand because of better experience and security, on the other hand, the under-screen fingerprint technology is not yet mature. I vaguely remember that when the fingerprint under the screen was first released, the process of identifying and unlocking was a bit "awkward".
In addition, under-screen fingerprints, or to be precise, "optical under-screen fingerprints" are not as secure as traditional capacitive fingerprints, and this should be the "last straw" for Apple to switch to Face ID.
How to put Touch ID under the screen?
In the past, Android manufacturers at the press conference will focus on how fast the fingerprints on the screen of the new machine are and how accurate the recognition is, and they will also say that "it is equipped with the fingerprints of the xx generation screen." Nowadays, at the press conference, manufacturers seldom put ink on the under-screen fingerprints. On the one hand, the under-screen fingerprint technology is gradually mature, and on the other hand, it is no longer new and has become a standard.
▲ Side Touch ID on iPad Air. Picture from: Apple
If it were not for the existence of “masks” in 2020, we might not have the desire to return to Touch ID, and Face ID would not bring inconvenience to life.
Now that the fingerprints under the screen are gradually maturing, coupled with the still unclear "global epidemic", it seems that Apple has begun to rethink how to make safety and practical trade-offs. Using Apple Watch to unlock iPhone is a matter of sacrificing security for convenience. The compromise made.
In this way, in the case of ensuring safety and portability, it seems that Touch ID and Face ID will be the best solution.
At present, there are about three schemes for under-screen fingerprints, each with advantages and disadvantages, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses.
- Optical fingerprint recognition
The standard fingerprint scheme under the Android camp screen. The principle is simply to take a picture of the fingerprint and then compare and identify it.
The module area is small, the thickness is thin, the recognition is fast, and the unlocking success rate is high. But it can only be used for OLED screens, and the cleanliness of the fingers is required. In addition, fingerprints under the optical screen do not support "live detection" temporarily, and their security and anti-counterfeiting are slightly poor.
- Ultrasonic fingerprint recognition
Qualcomm dominates, commonly found in Samsung Galaxy flagship phones. The latest Galaxy S21 series is equipped with Qualcomm's second-generation 3D ultrasonic fingerprint recognition. The principle is similar to the sonar system, which uses the texture of the finger to identify the difference in the reflection and penetration of sound waves.
Compared with fingerprint recognition under the optical screen, the ultrasonic fingerprint solution is more penetrating and has certain anti-stain ability. The most important thing is to support live detection, the security level is higher, and there is no need for the screen to emit light during the recognition process, which will not affect the screen life. Cost control, mass production capacity, and technological maturity are all lagging behind optical fingerprints.
- Capacitive fingerprint recognition
Has not yet reached the mass production level. Capacitive fingerprint recognition is an ideal solution. It supports live detection without losing recognition speed. In addition, in principle, it can also support full-screen unlimited "blind operation".
At present, if Apple wants fingerprints on the screen, it is very likely that these three solutions will be used, but if it wants to achieve the security of the previous physical Touch ID, there is a high probability that it will use the two solutions of 3D ultrasound and under-screen capacitive Choose one.
Can Touch ID return?
When Touch ID debuted, it completely overturned the industry's "fingerprint recognition". It turns out that fingerprint recognition can still be so insensitive. The appearance of Face ID has re-established the standard of "facial recognition". The original security level of facial recognition can be so high.
For a new technology, Apple often does not eat "crab" first, but when the time is right, it combines soft and hard, gradual optimization, and tries its best to be "insensitive." According to this idea, the fingerprint experience under the iPhone screen should be different from the existing solutions, and full-screen recognition is more in line with Apple's tone.
Judging from the information revealed now, they all point to the fingerprint under the optical screen, but it does not reach the security level required by Apple. The fingerprint under the optical screen will most likely be a "compromise solution" similar to the unlocking of the Apple Watch. It can only unlock the phone but cannot make payments. Naturally, it should not be called Touch ID, but more similar to the concept of Touch Locker.
▲Fingerprint under the imaginary optical screen with Face ID. Picture from: iMore
The Touch ID on the iPhone is actually replaced by Face ID, which is more secure and has a better experience. Only in the face of the current force majeure situation and unable to give full play to its due advantages, we will "miss" Touch ID and hope it Reappear on the new iPhone.
What if there is no "mask"? Perhaps Apple will proceed step by step, starting with miniaturizing the Face ID component and gradually hiding it. However, as the role of "masks" became more and more serious, Apple was forced to give up some security and make an exception to allow the watch to complete the unlocking action. This may be a signal.
Perhaps when iOS 14.5 Beta 1 is released, Apple is already considering the next solution, and the more mature optical screen fingerprint may be a new auxiliary unlocking method. The two kinds of biometrics are used together, which is similar to how Android uses 2D face recognition to compensate for the speed of fingerprints under the screen.
Touch ID, will the Touch ID return under the screen accurately? Judging from the current technology, it is difficult. Even if the technical difficulties are overcome, it is difficult to surpass Face ID in terms of security level and user experience, which is "running against Apple's continuous upgrade of security levels in recent years." On the other hand, the Face ID structured light is currently a relatively easy solution for Apple to achieve a true full-screen, only a step away from the mature technology of the under-screen camera.
When we take off the masks, embrace Face ID again, and enjoy the senseless experience that Face ID brings, perhaps we will quickly forget the conveniences that Touch ID brings in a special period.
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