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FaceID vs TouchID

A lot of folks probably don’t remember, but the very first iteration of TouchID was problematic for some users. Most had no issues, and it worked great. For others, including me, it would work for a short while then stop unlocking the phone. I would have to retrain my fingers every few days just to keep it going.

There were even hack tricks, like training the same finger twice, that supposedly improved performance. I tried this as well. It made things nominally better, at best.

Then Apple released a software update, and it worked great for me from that point on. I even joked at the time that perhaps Apple had “fixed” TouchID by simply making it less secure.

Then the hardware for TouchID was upgraded a year later, and it got even faster and more reliable.

I’ve been reminded of this while reading some sporadic reports from friends about FaceID. Most people, myself included this time, have no trouble with FaceID at all. (I think my phone has failed to recognize me maybe three times out of hundreds of unlocks in the past week.) But for a few folks, it seems to be a little less reliable. Particularly for those wearing glasses or with facial hair. (Oddly, both things that would apply to me, yet I appear to be unaffected.)

Thanks to the benefits of machine learning, though, we can expect that FaceID will get better quickly for those who are currently having a bit of trouble. First, with a software update or two. Then with even better hardware.

Any way you slice it, it’s clear to me that Apple was right to go all-in on FaceID. I can’t wait to have it on my iPad, my MacBook Pro—everywhere. Putting my finger down on my MacBook Pro to authenticate seems so antiquated already.