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Face ID in iOS 12 Lets You Register Two Faces

Apple on Monday (June 4) unveiled a host of new updates to iOS 12. And one of the more important changes is coming to Face ID.

Credit: Apple

(Image credit: Apple)

When Apple unveiled its Face ID face scanner in the iPhone X last year, the company revealed that only one face could be registered to the smartphone at a time. The feature meant that if you wanted to use Face ID on a family phone that all the kids could use, only one person could actually get into the handset with Apple's face scanner.

Then Apple unveiled iOS 12 on Monday.

Lost amid the conversation on Monday about iOS 12, Apple is now allowing up to two faces to be registered with Face ID. The feature was discovered by 9to5Mac in the newly released iOS 12 beta. Apple's software calls it an "Alternative Appearance" in Face ID settings and lets you register another face.

Now, to be clear, it's not immediately apparent whether Apple really means for Face ID to recognize another person. The company's use of "alternative appearance" suggests that Apple might be offering it for times when Face ID might not work as well as it should. For instance, if you're wearing a hat, there's a chance that Face ID won't work. By registering an alternative appearance, you could wear the hat, register your face, and it should be more reliable.

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Additionally, 9to5Mac wonders whether the feature is designed for iPads. Apple, after all, is said to be working on Face ID for the iPad and its iPad Pro line is slated to get the feature. For companies, especially, adding the option for multiple faces can be important, since different employees could interact with machines at different times.

Still, it's hard to say what exactly Apple has planned. The company didn't mention additional appearances in Face ID during WWDC on Monday and it's possible that the feature could change dramatically between now and when the final build is released.

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.