Face ID could finally be coming to Macs — but there's a catch

iMac 2021
(Image credit: Apple)

Update: Speaking of ID, Apple's digital ID feature has been delayed

Face ID has been available in iPhones and iPad Pros for several generations, but the face-scanning tech could be coming to other Apple products, including Macs. 

That’s according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who said in his latest ‘Power On’ newsletter (via MacRumors) that the Mac lineup could expect to get Face ID tech "within a couple of years." Gurman didn't specify which machines, but we'd suspect the tech would come to next-gen iMacs and MacBook Pros. 

According to Gurman, Touch ID is still an important part of Apple’s ongoing strategy, since it’s a “cheaper alternative” to Face ID and allows biometric security on Apple’s less expensive products. However, the plan is still to bring Face ID to products like the iPhone SE and iPad Air at some point.

“It won’t happen this year, but I’d bet Face ID on the Mac is coming within a couple of years,” Gurman said. “I expect all iPhones and iPads to transition to Face ID within that timeframe, too.”

We have already heard whispers that Face ID might come to Macs in the future. Code within macOS Big Sur suggested Face ID was on the way, which got some people’s hopes up. Gurman himself also reported that Face ID was intended for the recent 24-inch iMac 2021, but had been delayed until a future model.

Unfortunately, MacBooks may have to wait even longer for Face ID to arrive. Gurman notes that because Apple’s laptop screens are so much thinner than iPhones and iPads, there isn’t really room for the bulky depth sensors Face ID requires.

As for Face ID tech itself, Gurman claims that Apple will eventually manage to embed the necessary sensors in the screen. In other words, that would kill off the notch, though that may not be for a few years yet. After all, the iPhone 13 is only rumored to have shrunk the notch, while previous designs haven’t really changed since Face ID’s debut on the iPhone X.

The only question is, what happens now? Obviously, the recent iMac relaunch focussed on the 24-inch model and completely ignored the 27-inch version. It has been suggested that an upgraded model could be on the way, making a new 27-inch iMac a more likely candidate for the debut of Face ID on a Mac. However, Gurman pointed out that it isn’t likely to happen this year.

Nothing is certain, of course, but Gurman claims that Face ID is more suited to Apple’s overall strategy than Touch ID, since it offers security and augmented reality in one package. Considering Apple’s major push into VR and AR spaces ahead of the rumored Apple Glasses debut, this isn’t that surprising to hear.

As far as Touch ID goes, it could instead undergo something of a transformation. While Apple has been slow to adopt an under-display fingerprint scanner, there have been several rumors claiming that it will eventually happen, with the iPhone 14 rumored to be the first to get that upgrade.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.