The patent, initially spotted by Patently Apple, first discusses the issues 2D facial recognition systems experience, before explaining why the tech giant opted for 3D imaging with the TrueDepth camera system included in its latest iPhones.
Ever since the arrival of face unlock as an authentication measure, questions have been raised regarding its reliability, especially when we have seen devices like the OnePlus 6 being unlocked by a printed photo, and even the iPhone X's Face ID system getting tricked.
The result wasn't too surprising given that Apple uses an array of sensors for Face ID whereas Android OEM devices exclusively rely on the front camera for face unlock.
And while nobody expects criminals to start carrying around 3D heads to try to gain access to your smartphone, it appears that even showing a photograph of the user is enough to fool some Android phones into unlocking.
In the end, though, Apple chose to replace Touch ID with Face ID.
One handset that wasn't fooled was the iPhone X. This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise-back when the firm first revealed the device past year, Apple said it had worked with Hollywood studios to create realistic masks to test the system.
Apple then suggests using "faster, more efficient methods and interfaces for implementing biometric authentication".
Well, folks at Forbes have tested the same by using few of the most popular Android devices that include - the Samsung Galaxy S9, Note 8, the OnePlus 6 and the LG G7 ThinQ besides the Apple iPhone X as well. As for Samsung, it offers iris recognition on the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S9 which could not be fooled by the 3D printed head. "LG constantly seeks to make improvements to its handsets on a regular basis through updates for device stability and security", the representative said. All of the Androids opened with the fake. According to the report, they have used a 3D printed head of one of their reporters for testing the face authentication amongst all the devices, which were pre-registered with the reporter's actual face itself. A OnePlus spokesperson expressed that face unlock has been created with convenience in mind, which is why it is not listed as an authentication measure for apps that facilitate transactions, further adding that the company recommends fingerprint, PIN or password for security.
Phones from LG and Samsung warned that using facial recognition wasn't the safest security method, advising users that anyone with a close resemblance might be able to unlock the devices. Needless to say, using your fingerprint or a string password is highly recommended.