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article imageApple to let users secure iPhones with a selfie

By James Walker     Apr 1, 2015 in Technology
Apple may be building facial recognition into the lock screen of its next iPhones, allowing users to unlock the phone by taking a selfie with the front-facing camera and eliminating the need for a cumbersome passcode.
The news comes from a US patent filing that has just been granted to Apple. It is titled "locking and unlocking a mobile device using facial recognition" and includes a diagram that clearly shows the phone's front camera being used to authenticate its owner.
The patent describes how the phone's camera would capture an image of the face of its user when they try to unlock it. This would then be analysed and compared to a reference shot of the confirmed owners' face. If the two match then the phone would be unlocked.
An Apple patent filing appears to suggest that future iPhones could be unlocked with facial recognit...
An Apple patent filing appears to suggest that future iPhones could be unlocked with facial recognition
Apple - US Patent Office
The patent also describes an interesting and unique feature. It is explained that the system continues to secure the phone even after it has been unlocked by continuing to take photos of its surroundings. If the user is no longer in the shot, the phone is automatically locked to prevent thieves from using the device.
It is worth noting that facial unlock technology has been around for a long time. Android users have had access to this functionality for many years alongside other alternative forms of unlock such as pattern or swipe. By contrast, Apple users have traditionally had a simple "slide to unlock" as the only method, secured by a four-digit passcode.
The introduction of TouchID on recent iPhones has made it much quicker and easier to unlock the phone for many but an alternative may be appreciated by those who don't want to rely on the fingerprint sensor. TouchID is a very quick process though and it may prove superior to facial recognition when hurriedly unlocking a device. We will have to wait and see how Apple uses and deploys the technology.
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