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Apple's Face ID Has One Major Limitation

Apple's iPhone X won't be a friendly option for those who want to share their iPhones with family members.

Credit: Apple

(Image credit: Apple)

According to TechCrunch, Apple will only allow one face to be used per Face ID account. That means once a face is registered with the iPhone X's Face ID feature, you'll either need to stick with that or remove the original face before you add another. That stands in stark contrast to Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensor, which allowed for multiple fingers to work with the device.

Apple unveiled Face ID at its iPhone press event earlier this week. The company calls Face ID the "next generation of biometric technology," and argues that it would be safer and more reliable than Touch ID.

Locking Face ID down to one face might make some sense at first blush. After all, if you own an iPhone X, chances are you only have one face. Adding support for two or three or more faces could make your iPhone less secure.

MORE: iPhone X Hands-on: The iPhone, Nearly Perfected

However, this limitation could pose a problem for families that are already sharing iPhones around the house. 

While the iPhone X could still theoretically be shared, it would require you to keep Face ID off and only use a passcode. In other words, you'll be forced to use Apple's new handset without its killer new feature.

In an email posted online by Yoke Remote CEO Keith Krimbel, Apple senior vice president Craig Federighi said that there is a way to temporarily disable Face ID by gripping the buttons on both sides of the device. Federighi says that this feature is primarily designed to prevent theft, but it can also serve as a way to quickly turn the feature off if you'd rather enter a passcode.

That said, this is the first time Apple is offering Face ID, and the feature will likely get improvements and updates as time goes on.

Don Reisinger is a communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter who has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine and The New York Times, as well as Tom's Guide. 

  • dag.marius.knudsen
    Or you just give them your passcode? whats the problem with that? My girlfriend knows my passcode, but I dont have her finger registered with touchid.
  • soccergamer228
    To be totally honest we all know families who share phones aren't going to be buying the iPhone X so the "big" problem you are trying to state here is relatively invalid.