How safe is Apple's Face ID and can it be hacked? New iPhone X security feature explained

New state-of-the-art biometric iPhone unlock feature said to enhance smartphone security.

Is Apple's new state-of-the-art Face ID system secure? Apple

Apple's brand new iPhone X (pronounced 'Ten' by the way) has gone one step further to secure your smartphone by doing away with the Touch ID fingerprint scanner and will now use your face to unlock the device.

Using a new system called Face ID the iPhone X employs biometric facial recognition to authenticate owners and is claimed to be a 'state-of-the-art' system.

Hidden at the top of the front display is a camera system called 'TrueDepth', which is made up of a dot projector, infrared camera and flood illuminator to map the face of the iPhone owner.

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It projects more than 30,000 invisible dots onto a user's face and the recorded pattern is fed through a neural network to create a mathematical model of the face.

The purpose for the projection is so that if users decide to change their appearance such as putting on glasses, changing your hair or growing a beard it will have enough points of reference to recognise that the person is still the iPhone owner.

What's even smarter is that the Face ID system learns the user's face and will adapt to it over time.

Can Face ID be hacked?

Hackers looking to 'spoof' the system might have a hard time too, as Apple claims it has worked hard to ensure secure FaceID by allowing users to only unlock the iPhone if they look at the device – requiring attention is a key part of Apple's security.

At the iPhone X keynote the company also revealed that it developed the system's smarts by working with Hollywood special effects studios to create lifelike face masks of users to conduct tests to see if it could be easily fooled.

Apple worked with Hollywood studios to create masks to try to fool Face ID.Apple

Apple joked that the only chance it could be fooled is if a user's evil twin somehow got hold of the device. No doubt security researchers will go to town to crack the system from the moment the device is available on 3 November.

Apple explains the move to facial recognition is far more secure with the chances of someone else unlocking your iPhone at one in a million. Whereas Touch ID, while still secure, has a 1 in 50,000 chance of it being unlocked by the wrong fingerprint.

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Where's the data stored?

For users who may be worried that they're giving up their most personal of data – their face – they can rest easy as Apple will only store the data within the iPhone in a reassuringly named place called the 'secure enclave'. Apple says it "works hard to protect your face data" and like Touch ID, the data is never sent back to Apple servers, rather it remains on the device.

How quick is Face ID?

With the new system requiring users to look at the phone then swiping up to unlock, iPhone owners who have perfected the skill of unlocking their handsets as they pull it out of their pocket will have to wait maybe a split second longer. In demonstrations of the system at the iPhone X it was seamlessly quick.

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