Incident 32: Identical Twins Can Open Apple FaceID Protected Devices

Description: Apple's iPhone FaceID can be opened by an identical twin of the person who has registered their face to unlock the phone.
Alleged: Apple developed and deployed an AI system, which harmed People with Twins.

Suggested citation format

Anonymous. (2017-09-13) Incident Number 32. in McGregor, S. (ed.) Artificial Intelligence Incident Database. Responsible AI Collaborative.

Incident Stats

Incident ID
Report Count
Incident Date
Sean McGregor


New ReportNew ReportNew ResponseNew ResponseDiscoverDiscover

CSET Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Full Description

Apple's iPhone FaceID can be opened by an identical twin of the person who has registered their face to unlock the phone. In iPhone's FaceID technology a TrueDepth camera is used to read the contours of the user's face, and determine whether that face matches the benchmark of the owner's face. The Youtube channel LifeofTwinz displayed how two identical twins could unlock each other's phones by exploiting that system.

Short Description

Apple's iPhone FaceID can be opened by an identical twin of the person who has registered their face to unlock the phone.



Harm Distribution Basis

Other:Identical twins

Harm Type

Harm to civil liberties, Other:Privacy

AI System Description

Apple iPhone's FaceID utilizes TrueDepth cameras to read the contours of a user's face and determine match/not match to the registered phone owner's face.

System Developer


Sector of Deployment

Information and communication

Relevant AI functions

Perception, Cognition, Action

AI Techniques

facial recognition, TrueDepth

AI Applications

facial recognition



Named Entities

Apple, TrueDepth, LifeofTwinz

Technology Purveyor


Beginning Date


Ending Date


Near Miss




Lives Lost


Data Inputs

facial contour

Incident Reports

The iPhone X made its highly-anticipated debut Tuesday at Apple’s keynote event and one of its standout features is what the company calls Face ID. Gone is the fingerprint-required Touch ID, and in is a facial recognition software that allows users to unlock the phone, authenticate downloads and make purchases with Apple Pay. Naturally, the question on everyone’s mind is: can this technology be hacked?

Apple insists Face ID, which maps its user’s mug with 30,000 invisible dots within its so-called TrueDepth camera, is secure and stores data locally on the phone — which should prevent hackers from being able to breach information from a larger database. But what if it wasn’t a remote cybercriminal trying to access your phone from a distance but rather someone much closer like, say, a family member? Like a twin.

“Could an identical twin trick the machine? I suppose the answer is yes,” said Mike Shultz, founder and CEO of Cybernance, an Austin-based cyber risk management firm.

“I think a twin could be a possible problem if you were truly an identical twin,” added Chris Dore, an attorney at Edelson PC who specializes in consumer technology and privacy issues.

Both were quick to point out that for a twin to pick up their sibling’s phone and unlock it, they would have to possess a striking similarity to their sibling because Apple’s Face ID promises to analyze its subjects down to the fine details. While a user can grow a beard, get a haircut or put on a hat and still be able to access their device, according to Apple, the minuscule differences in face shape will be the primary measurement for the technology.

“It’s going to come down to a very, very granular level of measuring pieces of your face,” Dore explained. “It’s looking at measurements like in between your pupils and the edge of your mouth to your ear.”

“It works because [the iPhone X] has two very high-definition cameras spaced apart so you can get 3D imaging and really look at, ‘Is that ear one-ninth of an inch farther out on this guy or that guy?” Shultz added.

Identical twins develop from the same fertilized egg, so genetically they are exactly alike. Physical differences can arise, but they are a product of environmental changes over time, according to the Genetic Science Learning Center at the University of Utah. With this in mind, it’s feasible for twins raised in the same home environment to be virtually indistinguishable — especially if they are still young.

But ultimately, you may not have to worry about an evil twin because other forms of authentication for the iPhone could emerge, according to Rodger Desai, CEO of mobile authentication provider Payfone. Technology that can recognize how you hold your phone and type can properly identify ownership, he said.

“The larger problem is fraud for when the twin will pretend it happened when it didn’t,” Desai added. “And just like a credit card, if I say it was fraud one time, the company will forgive. But do it three times in a row and they’ll cancel it.”

Dore isn’t sure the issues end there, however. He fears that people will figure out how to unlock users’ phones without them realizing it.

“It would appear you could pick up someone’s phone and if you were near them and unlock it,” he said, adding that while unease for friends or spouses is one thing — the use of this method by law enforcement could be an even greater risk.

“Let’s say I arrest someone. I can pick up their phone and hold it in front of their face and unlock it,” Dore explained. “This creates very interesting fourth amendment questions,” he said, referring to the constitutional right of people to not be unreasonably searched without a warrant.

Of course, these scenarios are all hypothetical until the iPhone X releases later this fall. But experts and consumers alike will be keeping their eye on how the technology plays out. And should you have an identical twin, it’s in your best interest to make sure they’re not an evil one.

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Apple iPhone X: Could a Twin Trick the Face ID?

The iPhone X might be the future of Apple’s smartphone design, but its lauded Face ID facial recognition system has an issue with people under 13: it’s much more difficult to tell them apart.

In a security guide published Wednesday, Apple recommends that children under the age of 13 do not use Face ID due to the probability of a false match being significantly higher for young children. The company said this was because “their distinct facial features may not have fully developed”.

While few young children are likely to be given a £999 iPhone, false matches are also more likely for twins and siblings. In all those situations, the company recommends concerned users disable Face ID and use a passcode instead.

For most users – those over 13 without “evil twins”, as Apple’s head of iOS Craig Federighi describes them – the bigger concern is deliberate attacks. Touch ID, Apple’s fingerprint sensor, was famously bypassed just two days after it was launched in the iPhone 5S, using a fake fingerprint placed over a real finger.

With Face ID, Apple has implemented a secondary system that exclusively looks out for attempts to fool the technology. Both the authentication and spoofing defence are based on machine learning, but while the former is trained to identify individuals from their faces, the latter is used to look for telltale signs of cheating.

“An additional neural network that’s trained to spot and resist spoofing defends against attempts to unlock your phone with photos or masks,” the company says. If a completely perfect mask is made, which fools the identification neural network, the defensive system will still notice – just like a human.

Apple is also confident that it won’t fall prey to issues of algorithmic bias that have plagued many attempts to use neural networks at scale. High-profile examples of such failures include the photo-labelling system that ltagged black people as gorillas, or the word-association model which states that men are computer programmers and women are homemakers.

Whenever its initial training exposed a demographic shortcoming, Apple says, it “augmented the studies as needed to provide a high degree of accuracy for a diverse range of users”. Time – and millions of people around the world using the technology – will tell whether the effort worked, but the company sounds confident.

One area the system will struggle with, however, is facial coverings. Apple says that “Face ID is designed to work with hats, scarves, glasses, contact lenses and many sunglasses,” but ultimately two things dictate whether or not it has a chance of success. The first is whether the coverings are transparent to infrared light, and the second whether the system can see the eyes, nose and mouth. While some fabrics are more transparent to infrared than they may seem, that means iPhone users who cover their faces may be forced to rely on a passcode when out and about.

Separately, Apple has also confirmed that the depth-sensing technology included in the iPhone X is not allowed to be used by developers to create their own facial biometrics, a possibility which had concerned many privacy activists.

The depth sensor data is not directly available to developers, but the camera API now allows them to receive a pixel-by-pixel measure of how far features in an image are from the lens, a system intended to be used to enable image manipulation such as Apple’s own portrait mode.

That could theoretically be used to build a standalone authentication feature, albeit one that is less precise than Apple’s own, but the company has updated its App Store policies to prevent developers from attempting to do so. “You may not attempt, facilitate, or encourage others to identify anonymous users or reconstruct user profiles based on data collected from depth and/or facial mapping tools,” the company’s developer guidelines now state.

Apple: don't use Face ID on an iPhone X if you're under 13 or have a twin

Image: Apple/CNET

Apple has already said the iPhone X's facial-recognition system, Face ID, could be a problem for people with an evil twin. They'll have to use a passcode to keep their data secure. Or get an iPhone 8 with Touch ID, since twins don't have matching fingerprints.

But just as people want to keep others out of their iPhone, how does Face ID ensure owners aren't locked out because they've got more wrinkles, makeup, or a different hairdo than a month ago?

Apple explains this issue and more in a new paper called Face ID Security, as well as on a new Face ID support page.

As it's said before, there's a one in a million chance someone else could look at your iPhone X and unlock it. That's 20 times less likely than for Touch ID.

Apple says the probability of a false match is different for twins, and for kids under 13 years old, whose distinctive facial features aren't fully developed.

The Face ID enrollment relies on an image of the person's face at a single point in time, which, like Touch ID's fingerprint capture, is stored as a mathematical representation in the device's secure enclave. However, Face ID also relies on a neural network to build on this representation of the owner's face using facial data from some login attempts.

Besides data captured at enrollment, the secure enclave also stores "mathematical representations of your face calculated during some unlock attempts if Face ID deems them useful to augment future matching".

Face ID does capture actual face images on every unlock, but they're discarded as soon it's calculated the representation.

To cater for "dramatic" changes to your looks, such as new facial hair or make-up, Face ID can use a temporary representation of your face if it was a good enough match to unlock the device.

This can be used for a limited number of unlocks. Face ID also captures another facial image when it fails to recognize the owner but the match still reaches a "certain threshold" and they immediately type the correct passcode.

"To improve unlock performance and keep pace with the natural changes of your face and look, Face ID augments its stored mathematical representation over time. Upon successful unlock, Face ID may use the newly calculated mathematical representation -- if its quality is sufficient -- for a finite number of additional unlocks before that data is discarded," Apple explains in the paper.

"Conversely, if Face ID fails to recognize you, but the match quality is higher than a certain threshold and you immediately follow the failure by entering your passcode, Face ID takes another capture and augments its enrolled Face ID data with the newly calculated mathematical representation.

"This new Face ID data is discarded after a finite number of unlocks and if you stop matching against it. These augmentation processes allow Face ID to keep up with dramatic changes in your facial hair or makeup use, while minimizing false acceptance."

Previous and related coverage

Face, fingerprint, passwords, or PIN: What's the best way to keep your smartphone secure?

Apple's Face ID has caused a stir -- but are biometrics really the best way to boost mobile security?

iPhone X: The hardware behind Face ID

Unlocking the iPhone 8 might be as simple as looking at it, but there's a lot of high-tech hardware powering it behind the scenes.

Read more on Apple Face ID

iPhone X's Face ID: How does it handle beards, makeup, wrinkles? Apple explains

Apple has released detailed information on how its new Face ID system works. The facial recognition tech, a cornerstone of the soon–to–be–released iPhone X, has been lauded for its security prowess.

However, having failed to work properly during Apple’s launch event, it’s now becoming clearer when and how it could be gamed by hackers.

Here are the key reasons why Apple’s headline–grabbing new feature might not work for everyone.

  1. You’re under 13

As unlikely as it is that pre–teens will get their mitts on a smartphone that starts at £999 SIM–free, Apple says that younger users should avoid using Face ID as it’s harder for its tech to distinguish between them and other, similarly–aged users

This is “...because their distinct facial features may not have fully developed.”

  1. You’ve got a twin

Yes, the idea of an evil twin taking your iPhone X, unlocking it and using it for nefarious deeds might sound like the storyline from a particularly naff soap opera.

But Apple says that those with twins or similar looking siblings should avoid Face ID for security purposes.

While it doesn’t say what the chances are that evil family members could unlock your phone, it’s sure to be much more likely than the one in a million chance of a random person opening an iPhone X with their face.

  1. Your hat, glasses or scarves work with infrared

Face ID uses infrared tech to scan and detect faces. But while Apple says the iPhone X can suss out who you are even when wearing a hat, glasses, a scarf covering your face, or even sunglasses, there are caveats.

Whatever you’re wearing must be transparent to infrared, with the cameras being able to see your eyes, nose and mouth. Expect this to be tested heavily when the first iPhone X review units are out next month.

  1. You have a shave

Got a thick beard? Can’t face the itchiness any longer? Well, if you shave it off, expect Face ID to notice. It’ll ask you to enter a passcode and then tweak its data by scanning your face again to ensure its image is up to date.

  1. You’ve just turned your phone on

As with existing Touch ID–based iPhones, Face ID will not work when the iPhone X has just been turned on. You’ll need to enter a passcode to unlock your device.

The same goes after using the power off or Emergency SOS function when pressing the volume and side keys simultaneously.

iPhone X Face ID: The reasons it may not work

There’s been a flood of iPhone X reviews surfacing this week and we’re hearing (and seeing) more details about Face ID. While Apple has touted that Face ID is more secure than Touch ID, it also shared that this isn’t the case for twins and those under the age of 13. Now that a few outlets have had more time with the iPhone X, we’re seeing some mixed results when it comes to identical twins tricking Face ID.

Apple first shared that the probability of someone else unlocking your iPhone X with Face ID is 1 in 1,000,000 compared 1 in 50,000 with Touch ID at its September event. The company also made a joke out of the fact that Face ID’s security is lower when it comes to identical twins.

About a week later we heard details from Craig Federighi that the new tech would work “with most, but not all” sunglasses. At the end of September Apple released a white paper detailing how Face ID works, but while it mentions a higher false match, it didn’t give any specifics.

The probability that a random person in the population could look at your iPhone X and unlock it using Face ID is approximately 1 in 1,000,000 (versus 1 in 50,000 for Touch ID). […] The probability of a false match is different for twins and siblings that look like you as well as among children under the age of 13, because their distinct facial features may not have fully developed.

Today, Business Insider, Mashable, and The Wall Street Journal put Face ID to the test with identical twins and triplets…and so far it looks like a false match probability of 3 out of 4 (with extremely limited testing).

Mashable ran its tests with two sets of identical twins who experienced false matches in both cases.

With both sets of twins, the other twin unlocked the iPhone X, even though neither one had registered his face with Face ID on the iPhone X. With the Franklin twins, we had both brothers remove their glasses and had the other brother register. Again, Face ID failed to tell the difference.

Another interesting note from the Mashable article is that Windows has apparently solved the twin problem with its Windows Hello facial recognition.

The Wall Street Journal used fraternal twins and identical triplets in its tests and found that the twins weren’t able to fool Face ID, but the identical (young) triplets were. WSJ also did an elaborate face mask test which wasn’t able to trick Face ID.

Meanwhile, Business Insider saw the opposite results in its test. While BI only ran the test with one set of twins, no false matches occurred.

Is this a concern for you? For twins, this certainly seems like a downside compared to Touch ID (so hopefully you can trust your twin). iPhone X with Face ID hits stores this Friday when more customers will be able to give real world tests to the new facial recognition features.

Early Face ID tests show varying results for twins using facial recognition to unlock iPhone X

We put Apple's 'Face ID' technology to the test with twins. Facebook, friends, and even relatives get these identical twins mixed up all the time. But what about the iPhone X's facial recognition software?

Is the iPhone X's facial recognition twin compatible?

The iPhone X has a weakness for identical twins.

It can’t really tell the difference.

It's the first Apple device to include Face ID, a face-mapping technology that can be used unlock the phone, verify Apple Pay, and essentially replaces the fingerprint scanner (or Touch ID).

On the face of things, this trade-off makes perfect sense. Apple’s Face ID, according to the company, is more secure than Touch ID. Face ID has a 1-in-1 million false acceptance rate (or identifying someone else as you), as opposed to Touch ID, which has a 1-in-50,000 false acceptance rate.

Apple’s Face ID also proved to be, in my tests, a powerful and consistent hands-free iPhone unlocking strategy. It was very good at recognizing me, even when I wore a hat or a wig.

When Apple unveiled Face ID in September, it did warn, however, that its 1-in-1 million false acceptance rate might be somewhat lower if presented with two people with very similar DNA. In other words, siblings or identical twins gave the system problems.

There are no good numbers for exactly how many identical twins there are in the world, just an oft-trotted out statistic that 32 out of every 1,000 people is a twin. Even as multiple birth numbers rise, the numbers for identical twins are likely lower.

Based on those sketchy stats, maybe it would’ve been unwise for Apple to design Face ID to beat the twin test. Even so, some of us know enough identical twins (I’m looking at you Property Brothers) to wonder if the iPhone X’s Face ID technology would work for them.

Seeing double

At Mashable, we’re blessed with access to two sets of identical twins. Each agreed to bring in his twin, sit with us, and put Face ID to the test.

Both twin sets are brothers: MJ Franklin and his brother Marc, and Carlos Cadorniga and his brother Alex. Each twin set shared how they often confuse friends and family — I still have trouble telling one set apart. Could the iPhone X's Face ID tell the difference?

To test Face ID’s Twin-ID-ing capabilities, we had one brother register his face on the iPhone X, verify that he could unlock the phone by looking at it and then hand the locked device to his identical twin brother.

Marc and MJ Franklin (or is it MJ and Marc?) take the Face ID twin test. Image: Lili sams/mashable

With both sets of twins, the other twin unlocked the iPhone X, even though neither one had registered his face with Face ID on the iPhone X. With the Franklin twins, we had both brothers remove their glasses and had the other brother register. Again, Face ID failed to tell the difference.

Look, Apple never claimed Face ID was perfect and, in my tests, it could not be fooled by photos or videos of my registered face. Still, these results do not bode well for all the identical twins out there, to say nothing of triplets and quintuplets. This is, by the way, a test Microsoft says its Windows Hello Facial recognition technology reportedly didn’t fail.

Since Face ID is backed by powerful silicon and algorithms — it even learns how your face changes over time — we can only hope that Apple will continue to strengthen Face ID’s twin-discerning capabilities. In the meantime, identical twins will probably be using a passcode on the iPhone X.

The iPhone X's Face ID can be fooled by identical twins

With both sets of twins, the other twin unlocked the iPhone X, even though neither one had registered his face with Face ID on the iPhone X. With the Franklin twins, we had both brothers remove their glasses and had the other brother register. Again, Face ID failed to tell the difference.

Look, Apple never claimed Face ID was perfect and, in my tests, it could not be fooled by photos or videos of my registered face. Still, these results do not bode well for all the identical twins out there, to say nothing of triplets and quintuplets.

I was pretty shocked that the iPhone X could really pick apart the details between me and my brother considering some of our own family members can’t tell us apart. So, yeah, it was a pleasant surprise knowing that Brian can't break into my iPhone X and I can’t break into my brother's.

Now that the media has had hands-on time with the iPhone X , the new smartphone is being put through its paces in a few areas, including Face ID. Since the iPhone X's new biometric security system has already been at the forefront of much debate and skepticism , most review and hands-on coverage has tried to fool Face ID, including Mashable and Business Insider running a "twin test" to see if one iPhone X unlocks for identical twins. Mashable ran its test by asking two different sets of identical twins to try to unlock the iPhone X, first by having one twin register their face in Face ID and confirm it unlocks for them. Then, the second twin held up the iPhone X to their face -- not registered in the device -- to see if they could get into their sibling's iPhone. In both instances of Mashable's twin test, the iPhone X successfully unlocked using the face of the non-registered twin, fooling Face ID completely.Interestingly, Business Insider's results contrasted directly with Mashable. In its test, Business Insider first had one twin register his face and then simply try to fool Face ID by wearing a hat, glasses, and a scarf, and Apple's security system unlocked every time. Then, his identical twin brother raised the iPhone X in front of his face, but the device repeatedly failed to open and was apparently able to distinguish between the two brothers.It's worth noting that Apple itself admitted that Face ID may not be able to distinguish between identical twins during the iPhone X unveiling on September 12. Phil Schiller said at the time : "The chance that a random person in the population could look at your iPhone X and unlock it with their face is about one in one million. Of course, the statistics are lowered if that person shares a close genetic relationship with you. So, for example, if you happen to have an evil twin, you really need to protect your sensitive data with a passcode."Face ID also runs using the smartphone's A11 Bionic chip with a built-in neural engine and Apple has said that it will get smarter over time, so in the future more sets of twins might discover that Face ID more accurately tells them apart from their siblings.

iPhone X Face ID 'Twin Tests' Emerge With Mixed Results

When Apple announced its $1k iPhone X back in September, we learned they were ditching the home screen button log-in for something snazzier: facial recognition.

The company touted it as a more secure upgrade to its existing TouchID feature — but, it turns out the tech can be easily tricked by human genetics.

Apple’s upgrade

The new system, called Face ID, utilizes a new TrueDepth camera, which projects 30k “invisible dots” onto a user’s face creating a 3D model that verifies identity and unlocks the screen.

The tech is also equipped with an A11 bionic chip, which allows it to enlist machine learning to detect changes in a user’s appearance. As Forbes writes, “you can put on glasses, wear a hat, grow a beard. Even wild makeup will not fool Face ID… it will know you.”

Apple claims this system only allows for a 1 in 1m chance of someone else accessing your phone, compared to TouchID’s 1 in 50k.

Sounds great — unless you’re an identical twin

Mashable experimented and found that the phone’s Face ID couldn’t distinguish between sets of identical twins: they could easily log into each other’s devices. This wasn’t an issue with TouchID, as identical twins have different fingerprints.

Roughly 3.2% of the world’s population are twins, and about one-third of them are identical — so, this isn’t an insignificant issue.

But to be fair, even the parents of identical twins have a tough time telling them apart, so how much can you really blame tech here?

The iPhone X’s archnemesis: identical twins

Business Insider got an exclusive look at the iPhone X, and, naturally, we tried to beat its facial-recognition feature by having one twin register his face and the other try to break in.

The following is a transcript of the video.

Greg: Greg Fieber, 36 years old.

Brian: Brian Fieber, 36 years old. When we meet — people, initially, they always do a double-take and are unable to tell us apart.

Greg: Twin No. 1. Yup. Twin No. 2. Nope. Negative. Yeah, you can’t fool the iPhone X.

Brian: I was pretty shocked that the iPhone X could really pick apart the details between me and my brother, considering some of our own family members can’t tell us apart. So yeah, it was a pleasant surprise knowing that Brian can’t break into my iPhone X and I can’t break into my brother’s.

Greg: I agree.


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We put the iPhone X's Face ID to the ultimate test with identical twins -- and the results surprised us

Everyone's talking about the iPhone X, and for one reason in particular: its Face ID. This is Apple's attempt at conquering biometric security, and it could be either a huge success or a giant letdown. To see just how accurately the iPhone X facial recognition works, two sets of identical twins put it to the ultimate test: trying to tell them apart.

Right now, you're likely unlocking your phone with a passcode or using your fingerprint; but Apple wants to take things to the next level. Face ID works by first registering your face as you do rather funny-looking head rolls in front of the camera, then storing this information. After this set-up, to use the feature, you need only look down at your phone, and it unlocks — indicated by the little padlock that opens up on the screen. Then, swipe up, and you're in.

In the video posted by Mashable, two pairs of identical twin bothers put the iPhone X's Face ID to good use. One brother took a turn letting it scan his face, before passing it off to his twin — who then tried to use his own face to unlock the phone. To spice things up a little more, one brother even removed his glasses before trying to "break into" his brother's device. Did it work? Watch below to find out.

Mashable on YouTube

Fail. The iPhone knows a lot of things. It knows your fingerprint. It knows your friends and family. But if you have a look-alike relative, it might not be able to tell you apart.

It's not too comforting, but there are important details to note here, because it's not quite as simple as, "Face ID can't tell twins apart, so it must suck." First, let's back up to Touch ID, which uses your fingerprint to unlock your phone. We already know this isn't foolproof. Touch ID works by taking many (very) small photos of your prints. This means, theoretically, someone could fake your fingerprints — but the odds are one in 50,000. Looking at Face ID, however, that number skyrockets to one in a million. Apple has been open about how your odds might not be as good if you have a twin or another relative who looks a lot like you. (On the same note, hopefully you don't have to worry about these specific people snooping through your phone, reading your texts, and checking out your naughty selfies.)

As for the rest of us who don't have twins or doppelgangers... Alex Cranz with Gizmodo tested out Face ID and confirmed what a lot of us have probably already suspected: most of the time, Face ID works perfectly.

In fact, as long as you don't give it a profile view (which it can't read), Face ID usually works in less than a second.

You simply tilt it toward your face and swipe. It even works in the pitch black. Best yet, the technology gets smarter as you use it. In other words, over time, it will know it's you even if you've grown a beard, are wearing your glasses (including sunglasses!), are making a funny face, and even after you've removed or put on make-up.

Joanna Stern of the Wall Street Journal also tried to trip up the iPhone X, similar to Mashable. Most of the time, the phone knew right from wrong: she even used photos of herself to try to trick it — taping a cutout to her own face, and holding up a picture of herself on her iPhone 7. Even a silicone mask of her own face didn't cut it. While she had a pair of twins try to (unsuccessfully) unlock the iPhone for each other, triplets were able to pull it off.

Bottom line: you can expect Face ID to be easy to use, fast, and secure. And unless you have a twin named Dr. Evil, you probably don't need to worry.

Does iPhone X Facial Recognition Work On Twins? Mashable Tested It Out And, Well, Whoops

The new $1,000 rectangle from Apple has a troubling security flaw.

In a video posted to Reddit on Friday (Nov. 3), two brothers demonstrate that they can both unlock one brother’s new iPhone X using its Face ID facial recognition security option.

“We are not twins. He is five years younger than me,” the older brother and owner of the iPhone X says. They both wear similar glasses. When his younger brother tries to unlock the phone without his glasses on, it doesn’t work. But when he slips his glasses back on, the iPhone unlocks.

As noted by 9to5Mac, Apple has stated that Face ID is an even more secure way to unlock an iPhone than Touch ID was, with there being a one in 1,000,000 chance of a different person being able to dupe its facial recognition software. But the company has also acknowledged that Face ID may be less secure when it comes to twins and siblings with similar facial features—as the video clearly shows.

Until that’s resolved, you might want to stick to the old-school passcode option unless you really trust your little brother.

A man was able to use Face ID to unlock his brother’s new iPhone X

The iPhone X is here, and with it Apple’s new biometric authentication—Face ID. All week I have seen videos attempting to demonstrate whether or not an identical twin can dupe Face ID and allow someone other than the actual iPhone owner to access the device. Just stop. It is a stupid test.

Hacking Face ID

Similar tests were conducted when Microsoft first introduced the Windows Hello facial recognition feature, which utilizes similar technology. I get it. It’s fun to try and hack the authentication for a new device or technology. It’s also pretty good for getting clicks and generating traffic. It just has no real-world value and doesn't provide any useful information for owners (or potential owners) of an iPhone X.

The premise of the “twins test” conducted by media outlets like Mashable and Business Insider seems to be to demonstrate whether or not the facial recognition feature of the iPhone X is absolutely secure. Business Insider found that it works as advertised and Face ID could not be fooled by identical twins. Mashable, on the other hand, found two sets of identical twins capable of thwarting Face ID. The subtle implication—although not substantiated at all by the test itself—is that maybe you shouldn’t trust Face ID.

According to a University of Texas study, only about 32 out of 1,000 people are twins—which translates to roughly three percent of the population. However, the rate for identical twins is only 3.5 per 1,000 births. That means the novelty of breaking into an iPhone X by tricking Face ID only applies to about one third of one percent of the population.

Face ID is 99.997 percent secure

What we’ve learned from these tests is that it is, in fact, possible that some identical twins can fool Face ID and gain access to the iPhone X. What we know from the twins data, is that this is only an issue for 0.35 percent of the world—at most. The fact that the Mashable and Business Insider twin tests got different results suggests that only a certain subset of identical twins can bypass Face ID, which could significantly lower that number.

Instead of worrying about the fact that an identical twin might be able to access the device, let’s focus on the real story here. The fact is, if it takes a truly identical twin to maybe be able to fool Face ID, then for the 99.997 percent of the population of the world who are not part of a set of identical twins, Face ID is pretty damn secure.

If you do happen to be an identical twin and this is an issue that concerns you, you can always use the Emergency SOS feature to quickly disable Face ID facial recognition at your next family gathering to ensure your evil twin won’t be able to access your iPhone X without the passcode.

Enough Already With The Stupid Face ID 'Twin Test'

A CHINESE WOMAN has been offered a refund on her iPhone X after she discovered that her colleague could unlock the device Face ID.

Apple has long claimed that the technology behind Face ID is the "most advanced" it has ever created and says that the probability that a random person could successfully use it to unlock your smartphone is approximately 1 in 1,000,000, versus 1 in 50,000 for Touch ID.

However, a woman in China, known only is Yan, told the Jiangsu Broadcasting Corp this week that her co-worker was able to unlock her iPhone X using the face-scanning tech despite having reconfigured the facial recognition settings multiple times

Yan called Apple to report the issue where staff told her it was "impossible", so she rushed to the nearest store Apple store to demonstrate the glitch to employees.

There, South China Morning Post reports, Apple staffers found that the women were able to unlock the iPhone X no matter whose face was set as the owner.

The store reportedly said that the camera was faulty and gave Yan a refund, but she encountered the same problem with her second iPhone X.

Apple has yet to comment but told HuffPost that both women may have used the phone during its "passcode training" and that the phones may have been essentially "taught" to recognize both faces.

This latest Face ID glitch comes just weeks after it was revealed that a 10-year-old in the US has been able to access his mum's phone using the supposedly secure face-scanning tech.

"It was funny at first," the boy's father said. "But it wasn't really funny afterwards. My wife and I text all the time and there might be something we don't want him to see. Now my wife has to delete her texts when there's something she doesn't want Ammar to look at." µ

Apple's Face ID tech can't tell two Chinese women apart

A worker in the Chinese city of Nanjing claims a colleague has bested the facial recognition technology on her new iPhone X — twice.

The woman, identified only by her surname Yan, told the Jiangsu Broadcasting Corp. that her co-worker was able to get into both phones — her original as well as the new one Apple gave her as a replacement, reports the South China Morning Post.

An Apple spokesman told HuffPost that he couldn’t confirm the details of the story, nor did he have enough information to determine what might have gone wrong with the phones. He suspected that both women may have used the phone during its “passcode training” and that the phones may have been essentially “taught” to recognize both faces.

The facial recognition software has run into some glitches. It can sometimes mistake twins or siblings, according to Apple. The phone, too, may not accurately identify children under the age of 13 because their faces are not as definitely formed as adults’, according to an Apple security “white paper” on the technology.

Apple hasn’t yet confirmed a case of an unrelated adult cracking the phone’s facial recognition software, according to the Apple spokesman. The company insists that the probability of a random person accessing someone else’s iPhone X using the Face ID passcode is 1 in 1 million, versus 1 in 50,000 for Touch ID. Phil Schiller, Apple’s vice president of product marketing, conceded in September: “Of course, the statistics are lowered if that person shares a close genetic relationship with you.”

Unless Apple technicians examine the Chinese phones, it’s unclear what happened. An added complication is that a Chinese company has reportedly begun manufacturing a clone of the iPhone X — with unknown facial recognition capabilities.

Woman In China Says Colleague’s Face Was Able To Unlock Her iPhone X

VLADIMIR, January 30. /TASS/. Twin brothers from the Russian city of Vladimir are demanding 20 mln rubles (over $357,000) in compensation from Apple because the Face ID feature of their new iPhone X smartphones cannot tell them apart, their lawyer told TASS on Tuesday.

"The twins purchased iPhone X smartphones to use the facial recognition feature to unlock the screen. They were disappointed to learn that each of the phones recognizes both brothers who had not been warned about this by the seller. Therefore, they are asking the company to improve this feature," attorney Roman Ardykutsa said.

According to him, the Face ID’s failure to tell the brothers apart is a personal data protection breach and Apple should add a warning to the iPhone X manual regarding the unlocking of the phone by twins.

If the company does not satisfy their demands, the brothers will go to court, the lawyer warned.

Apple presented the new iPhone X on September 12 last year. It is equipped with a frameless OLED-screen, which fully covers the front of the smartphone, as well as a 3D face-scan sensor to unlock the device, known as Face ID.

The new iPhone X went on sale in Russia on November 3.

Double trouble: Russian twins to sue Apple as iPhone X’s Face ID fails to tell them apart

We have in the past seen instances such as the failure of Microsoft bot Tay, when it developed a tendency to come up with racist remarks. Within 24 hours of its existence and interaction with people, it starting sending offensive comments, and went from “humans are super cool” to being almost a Nazi.

While on one hand, chatbots, robots and conversational platforms are finding their niche in many companies, these technological advancements are also turning mainstream to become the face of the company. But many times they end up failing and disappointing us. While most of the times these technologies fail because companies don’t clearly define their purpose, others could be pure technical glitches.

Here we list some of the tech failures from last year that hint that the companies need to work harder and keep coming up with better and improved versions of their innovations.

  1. When Facebook’s Chatbots Developed Their Own Language

As scary as it may sound, “Bob” and “Alice”, the chatbots created by Facebook had to be shut down as the duo started communicating in their own language, defying human generated algorithms.

The bots were originally developed to learn how to negotiate, by mimicking human trading and bartering, but when they were paired to trade against each other, they started to learn their own bizarre form of communication. Though they were designed to communicate in English, they developed their own mysterious language that humans couldn’t crack.

Bob: i can i i everything else . . . . . . . . . .

Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to

This is how their conversation looked like. Researchers stopped the operation of the chatbots citing that they were looking at bots that could behave differently.

  1. When Mitra The Robot Failed To Greet The Prime Minister

The indigenously built robot called Mitra, developed by Bengaluru-based Invento Robotics walked up to welcome Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ivanka Trump at the the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) opening in Hyderabad. While the robot was programmed to welcome each of them with their names on pressing the respective flags, it failed to do so.

When Modi was first requested to press Indian flag, Ivanka also ended up pressing the US flag simultaneously and because of the confusion due to overlapping, Mitra could not function properly.

This failure could be attributed to being poorly coded, where there was no specific instruction given to the robot to complete the current task before starting a new one. For instance, it kept on saying “Welcome miss Ivan, Welcome miss Ivan, Welcome Shri Narendra Modi”. The robot could not say Ivanka Trump’s full name because before it could complete the sentence, it received a new input, and gave a preference to newer requests.

  1. When Autonomous And Driverless Vehicles Turned Disastrous

In a tragic incident involving Uber self driving car, a woman was killed during a trial, stalling autonomous vehicle operations worldwide. The car was travelling on a partially lit road, when a woman appeared out of nowhere in the darkness. The Uber self driving Volvo which was driving at a speed of 61 kmph, failed to apprehend the same and resulted in a fateful crash.

Back in India, Delhi’s first ever driverless metro met with an accident during its trial, and it was touted to be human error and negligence. Reportedly, the trial train was moved to testing from the workshop without testing the brake, as a result of which the moving train hit the adjacent boundary wall, with no harm to lives.

  1. When iPhone X’s Face Recognition Could Not Differentiate Identical Twins

When Apple released its iPhone X with much aplomb, it was awed for its artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities. Facial recognition was one of the key capabilities that it boasted, but it was found to have a weakness for identical twins.

When Apple unveiled the Face ID in September, it did warn that its acceptance rate might be somewhat lower if presented with two people with very similar DNA, aka identical twins, it could be speculated that Face ID wasn’t perfect. Face ID, a face mapping technology that can unlock phones, verify Apple Pay and replace fingerprint scanners, could be fooled at some level, especially when identical twins are made to use the Face ID.

That’s not all, a week after the phone’s release, Vietnamese security firm Bkav, using a mask with 3D printed base, convinced the phone that it was human and made the phone to unlock itself. The firm said that it cost merely $150 to create the mask, and hinted towards a possible hacker’s attack in the future.

  1. When Alexa And Amazon Echo Goofed Up

The popular Amazon Echo cost one of its owners a huge locksmith bill, when police had to break down the house on complaints from neighbours of loud music early in the morning. Amazon Echo, which comes with robust and smart speakers accidentally activated itself and blasted music, when the residents were out.


Top 5 AI Failures From 2017 Which Prove That ‘Perfect AI’ Is Still A Dream

ACM News Distinguishing Identical Twins

The challenges of using facial recognition systems to identify identical twins are amplified by their similarity, although like parents, facial recognition systems are beginning to be able to tell them apart in certain circumstances. Credit: South China Morning Post

Facial recognition is evolving, challenging human capability to identify individuals. Can it accurately identify identical twins?

The answer is yes, and no.

The challenges of using facial recognition systems to identify identical twins start with the same problems as identifying individuals, such as image quality, position of the head, facial expression, lighting, and superficial changes such as make-up and the addition or removal of beards and other facial hair. Those challenges are amplified by the apparent identicalness of twins, although like parents, facial recognition systems are beginning to be able to tell them apart in certain circumstances.

Jeremy Dawson, an associate professor specializing in biometrics at West Virginia University, has built datasets of identical twins' images for facial recognition research purposes. He describes algorithms that break down the principle components of a facial image, such as mouth, nose, and eyes, to create a template of the image and encrypt the data. Dawson says, "If images are high-quality and components of a face are broken down into a template, it is possible to see minute differences between identical twins."

There is a caveat, however; while it is possible to match an image of an identical twin against a small database of images, as the database grows, performance deteriorates as there is a greater chance that there are other facial images with similar features. Says Dawson, "If an image group is large, there is an impact on the performance of any identification."

Another approach to facial recognition uses spatial orientation of facial features. For example, a picture of eyes and everything around them can be transformed into spatial frequency (the level of detail present per degree of visual angle). This is the basis of linear discriminant analysis, based on an idea suggested by Sir Ronald A. Fisher in 1936 and used to find the subspace representation of facial images. Again, using this technique it may be possible to distinguish identical twins.

Arun Ross, professor of computer science and engineering at Michigan State University, breaks down facial recognition into three levels. Level one includes the shape of a face; level two includes specific features such as eyes, nose, and mouth, and level three incorporates more precise detail, such as freckles, scars, or tattoos. Says Ross, "Using multiple feature sets and level three features, identical twins can be identified, but systems will still make errors."

Having twice visited the Twins Day Festival in Twinsburg, OH, the largest annual gathering of twins in the world, Kevin Bowyer, Schubmehl-Prein professor in the department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, collected facial, fingerprint, and iris data with the goal of distinguishing identical twins.

Like his peers, Bowyer says high-quality images and high-performing algorithms can go some way to distinguishing identical twins, although the algorithms need to be able to register fine details that are reliably different. The challenge here is transient detail, which Bower says can include such minute detail as scabs on the face, which can be covered up. In these types of cases, Bowyer says it is hard to catch twins substituting for each other. "Facial recognition most probably won't work if identical twins set out to defeat the system."

Facial recognition systems often use several techniques and fuse the results. For example, machine learning and neural networks allow systems to look at full images and subsets of data included in templates. Similarly, several algorithms can be agglomerated to create datasets of certain aspects of a face and, over time, learn what features to extract to support accurate facial recognition.

While vendor facial recognition systems are in place to match individuals to database images for purposes such as border control, law enforcement, and workplace security, they have limitations when the individuals are identical twins. Elke Oberg, marketing manager at Dresden, Germany-headquartered Cognitec, which markets FaceVACS facial recognition technology, says the algorithms underlying the FaceVACS product line can tell identical twins apart to the point even if they have very small differences in features that wouldn't reqister quickly on the human eye; when twins are absolutely identical, however, the technology fails.

Government agencies asked about the ability of their facial recognition programs to distinguish identical twins for this article declined to respond, perhaps because this is a problem they have yet to solve.

Looking at current schemes, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Distinguishing Identical Twins

Apple’s foolproof Face ID system looks like it has met its match.

Even though Face ID is supposed to faster on the iPhone XS and XS Max, it appears that the security system can be completely fooled by identical twins. If you’ve got a sibling doppelganger, you might want to just use a passcode.

Watch how ineffective Face ID is at distinguishing between these two:

Faking out Face ID

Apple says there’s a 1 in 1 million chance that a random person could unlock your phone with their face. The feature cannot be fooled by photos like Samsung’s facial recognition technology, but human faces are the exception.

Last year we saw a couple sets of twins try to fool Face ID with mixed results. Some twins couldn’t trick the feature while others could. Some hackers managed to trick Face ID with a cheap mask too. So the bottomline is, even though Face ID is more secure than Touch ID, it’s still not perfect.

Face ID fails to recognize difference between twins

When Apple debuted Face ID with the iPhone X in 2017, it claimed it was even more secure than Touch ID. While this might be true, the biggest issues with Face ID are that it is slower than Touch ID and despite being more secure, it could be easily bypassed by one’s identical twin brother or sister.

For the 2018 iPhone XS series, Apple has only made claims of Face ID being faster than ever and that it is still more secure than Touch ID. Yet again though, as tests conducted by twin brothers running the LifeofTwinz YouTube channel show, Face ID on the iPhone XS still unlocks if one identical brother registers their face and another tries to unlock the phone.

Face ID was also fooled when one identical twin tried opening the iPhone XS Max with a beard. That seemed to have made little to no impact as Face ID still unlocked the device. In the third test, the identical twins wore a hat and then tried to open the same iPhone XS Max. And once again, they were able to do so successfully.

To Apple and Face ID’s credit though, the company had said last year that identical twins might be able to bypass Face ID. Plus, the identical twins in the video really do look identical so Face ID getting confused between them should be forgiven.

How has your experience with Face ID been so far on the iPhone X or iPhone XS? What are the areas where you think Apple can further improve it? Drop a comment and let us know!

Face ID on iPhone XS Fooled by Identical Twins

IPHONE users are complaining that Face ID has stopped working on their handsets, The Sun has learned.

The mysterious issue means that Apple's face unlock technology no longer recognises faces – forcing users to rely on passcodes instead.

Apple 4 Face ID lets you unlock your iPhone with your face – even in the dark

The Sun has discovered dozens of reports about the issue across Twitter, Reddit, Apple's support forums and fan forums.

Most of the complaints seem to be from users with the iPhone XS Max (which costs between £1,099 and £1,449), but other handsets have also been named.

Face ID is Apple's facial recognition software, introduced last year as a way of safely verifying your identity.

It's only available on the iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR right now, because it relies on sensors built into the actual handset.

Apple 4 Users are reporting a strange error message when attempting to use Face ID

On Reddit, one user wrote: "I got my XS Max a few weeks ago, and Face ID has been working wonderfully until maybe yesterday or this morning.

"So, when I just tried to start over and reset my Face ID, I got a message saying 'Face ID is not available. Try setting up Face ID later'."

Another user on Reddit posted an image of the error message, seemingly confirming the issue.

One user on the MacRumors forum linked the issue to the new iOS 12.1 update – although we've been unable to verify this is the case.

They wrote: "I have an XS Max and just upgraded to 12.1 about an hour ago.

"Now my Face ID won't work, I reset it, and it says Face ID not available."

Dozens of users have posted similar complaints to Twitter, some of which date back several weeks.

Apple 4 Frustrated users have taken to Twitter to complain about Face ID

One wrote: "My Face ID is not working any more. Tried setting it up 20 times and it doesn't want to recognise my face. I have the XS Max."

Another said: "It worked at first but then stopped working to unlock my phone. So I did 'reset Face ID' and when I try to set it up, it says 'Face ID not available'."

We found at least 30 threads on the official Apple Support forums complaining about an identical issue in the last week alone.

The Sun was also able to confirm the issue existed on an iPhone XS Max running iOS 12.1.

Fortunately, there is a fix that seems to be working for at least some users.

Apple 4 Face ID works using sensors that are built into the "notch" at the top of your iPhone display

How does Apple's FaceID tech work? Apple's facial recognition system for the iPhone X isn't massively complicated. Here are the steps your phone takes: The phone will use various sensors to work out how much light it needs to illuminate your face.

It then floods your face with infrared light, which is outside the visible spectrum of light.

A dot projector will produce more than 30,000 dots of this invisible light, creating a 3D map of your face.

An infrared camera will then capture images of this dot pattern.

Once your phone has all that info, it can use your face's defining features – like your cheekbone shape, or the distance between your eyes – to verify your identity.

It computes a score between 0 and 1, and the closer it is to 1, the more likely it is that your face is the same as the one stored on your iPhone.

Apple says there's a one-in-a-million chance of someone else getting into your iPhone with Face ID, although the system has been tricked with twins.

Still, it's arguably better than the alternative: Apple's Touch ID fingerprint scanner has a one-in-50,000 chance if being fooled.

How to fix iPhone Face ID 'not available' bug

Several users posting online have suggested that performing a "soft reset" on your phone.

The Sun has been able to confirm on a review device that this technique does resolve the issue.

You'll need to press the Volume Up key then release, press the Volume Down key then release, and then press and hold the Power button until you see the Apple logo on-screen.

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This won't wipe any data from your phone – it's simply a reboot.

It's not clear how many users are affected.

We've asked Apple for comment and will update this story with any response.

Have you experienced any issues with Face ID recently? If so, let us know in the comments!

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iPhone owners baffled by Apple's Face ID ‘not available’ error

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