Face ID was one of Apple’s newest innovations for the iPhone X. The security feature is the said to be the most advanced of its kind. Since the release of the 10th-anniversary iPhone, many have tried to bypass the system. Most—if not all—attempts have failed. The few that have succeeded have had to go through drastic measures to bypass the security feature. However, earlier this month, Apple’s Face ID was cracked by a 10-year-old boy with little to no effort.
Fifth-grader Ammar Malik bypassed Face ID on his mother’s new iPhone X in the family’s Staten Island home, reported Wired. Sara Sherwani, Ammar’s mother, and her husband, Attaullah Malik, had just set up Face ID on their individual iPhones when their son tried accessing his mother’s phone. As expected, Ammar’s parents were quite surprised.
According to Mac Rumors, the boy was able to unlock his mother’s phone repeatedly after the first attempt. Ammar was only able to unlock his father’s phone only once and was never able to repeat the feat.
Sherwani reset Face ID and registered her face once again at the suggestion of Wired reporter, Andy Greenberg. Her son was unable to bypass the system after it was reprogrammed. Sherwani re-registered Face ID a third time, this time in the same environmental conditions she did it the first time—at night in dim light— and her son was once again able to access her iPhone X.
Based on the family’s little experiment, it seems that lighting could be part of the reason Ammar was able to bypass Face ID. However, according to Apple’s Keynote in September, the iPhone X should be able to register a person face in complete darkness thanks to its flood illuminator.
— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) November 15, 2017
If dim lighting was not the cause for the 10-year-old boy’s ability to bypass the security feature, it may be attributed to his age. Apple has explained that children under 13 years of age could potentially cause problems with Face ID because kids that young do not have fully developed facial features, reported The Verge.
However, there may be another reason Ammar was able to crack the system. Given that Ammar is Sherwani’s son, Face ID may have picked up similarities between the mother-son pair. It should also be noted that Apple’s Neural Engine allows a person’s iPhone to learn and study a person’s face throughout time.
Sherwani had just bought her iPhone X and registered Face ID when her son tried accessing her phone the first time. The boy’s attempts after would have given Apple’s smart engine to study his face at the same time it was learning more about his mother’s facial features. If the Neural Engine were given more time to study Sherwani’s face alone, it might pick up the slight differences between mother and son.
[Featured Image by Eric Risberg/AP Images]