What Is Facial Recognition On The iPhone X? Here's What You Need To Know

Here's something to cure your end-of-summer blues: the new iOS 11 is literally jam-packed with futuristic features that will make it even easier for you to chose your phone over human interaction, any day. Seriously, you'll completely forget that the outdoor dinner parties are over, the pool's been drained and that your tan is fading. You're going to want to switch over into your fall indoors techie state of mind ASAP, and you're going to want to know what facial recognition is because it's going to change the way you use your iPhone and the way you regard security.

Among many of the new and exciting features on iOS 11, Face ID is one of the most notable — making the iPhone literally on par with every dream phone we've ever seen in a movie that takes place on another planet or in a far away time. Touch ID is now a thing of the past. With the new operating system, the phone will simply unlock once it recognizes your face — making the unlocking process easier and the safety level, considerably higher.

And while the whole concept of facial recognition sounds a bit sci-fi, it's actually a technology that we are already familiar with, and essentially use today. While you'll need the new iPhone X in order to use Face ID, you'll already be familiar with the concept of how it works. You know those masks and filters you use on Instagram Stories and Snap Chat? You know, you let the app find your face, it calibrates its movements a bit and then makes you a part of an augmented reality?

That's basically the same technology that Face ID uses. It looks at your face and collects data from a range of motions, giving it a much more precise understanding of your face, as opposed to 2D identification which is what other phones already on the market rely on. The most important difference between 3D and 2D facial recognition is that 2D can be stumped with a picture. So basically if someone has a picture of your face and access to your phone, they would be able to unlock it. Whereas with 3D Face ID, your actual human face needs to be in front of your phone's front facing camera in order for it to recognize you and unlock. When you set up your Face ID, you'll move your head around in a circle to make sure that it collects enough data to tell the difference between you, a picture of you, or some random doppelganger. Here's a preview of that set up:

And unlike the thumb print Touch ID set up, the Face ID is said to be much more easily captured. Basically, you'll move your face around and the operating system will learn what you look like pretty quickly.

You might be thinking: what was wrong with Touch ID? It's not like people could easily hack it, without hacking off your thumb. But it seems that Apple is trying to get rid of the home button altogether for the iPhone X, which might be part of the reason why the Touch ID is getting canned. Now, the entire front of your phone will be a touch screen, that you won't even need to touch in order to securely unlock your phone. But, rest assured there will be an option for you to use a passcode. It's partially in case the Face ID isn't working and also as a back up in case you need someone else to access your phone or you're not in a position to hold your phone up.

Considering the fact that I spend a lot of time on my phone when I'm not supposed to be, like at the movies, under my desk, or at the dinner table, I have a feeling I'll be getting some pretty good use out of that passcode, too. Though definitely looking forward to feeling like a high tech futurist with the Face ID, too.