It's about time! Face ID could finally be coming to MacBooks

MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021 sitting on a patio table
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Despite being rolled out the same year the iPhone X launched way back in November 2017, Apple’s Face ID has somewhat bafflingly never come to MacBooks. Thankfully, this oversight could soon be corrected.

As discovered by Patently Apple (via TechRadar), a new patent pertaining to the use of Face ID on Mac devices points to the authentication tech finally coming to Apple’s laptops and desktop machines in (hopefully) the near future.

With the patent now granted, Apple is free to bring Face ID to future MacBooks and iMacs. As someone with butter fingers, I often find using Face ID on my iPhone 14 Pro is a face-scanning lifesaver.

Digging into the patent, it also appears Apple intends to incorporate Face ID not just for initial device login, but for email login access, too. Seeing as I’ve probably forgotten my email passwords roughly 17,993 times, this is a potential new Face ID feature I’m all for.

When will Face ID come to Macs?

Face ID patents

(Image credit: Patently Apple)

The patent, which was just approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office actually dates all the way back to 2008 — for context, that’s just a year after the original iPhone launched. Suffice to say, it seems Apple has been thinking about porting Face ID to the Mac space for a loooong time.

Other patents were also unveiled during the hearing. Intriguingly, one design features an old Mac desktop that appears to have been designed to work with some sort of face-recognizing tech; years before Face ID was eventually rolled out.

If there’s anything to grumble about, it’s that Apple is extremely late to the party on this one. iPhone and iPad users have been able to enjoy Face ID’s time-saving goodness for half a decade. Still, despite the glacial delay, at least Apple’s facial tech is still miles ahead of the likes of the Google Pixel 7’s Face Unlock feature.

So when exactly will we see the best MacBooks adopt the depth-sensing facial recognition software? Our bet would be next year, when a newly rumored M3 MacBook Air 15-inch and M3 MacBook Pro could potentially launch next summer with Face ID support.

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Dave Meikleham
UK Computing Editor

Dave is a computing editor at Tom’s Guide and covers everything from cutting edge laptops to ultrawide monitors. When he’s not worrying about dead pixels, Dave enjoys regularly rebuilding his PC for absolutely no reason at all. In a previous life, he worked as a video game journalist for 15 years, with bylines across GamesRadar+, PC Gamer and TechRadar. Despite owning a graphics card that costs roughly the same as your average used car, he still enjoys gaming on the go and is regularly glued to his Switch. Away from tech, most of Dave’s time is taken up by walking his husky, buying new TVs at an embarrassing rate and obsessing over his beloved Arsenal.