January 31, 2023

While many of us despised Face ID during the pandemic, as it was the only way to quickly unlock our phones, but we were wearing masks so it wasn’t quick at all. It’s still a really good way to secure your iPhone. That’s because it’s a lot more secure than just using a camera, which a lot of Android smartphones do.

So it’s worthwhile to set it up, which is exactly what we’re showing you how to do today.

What is Face ID and how does it work?

Face ID is Apple’s own name for facial recognition. It first was released with the iPhone X back in 2017, which was the first iPhone without a physical home button.

Now, Face ID does work a bit differently compared to facial recognition on Android. Facial recognition on Android basically just uses the camera to see your face and then authenticates it. Which means that pictures are able to unlock your phone. That’s not the case with the iPhone. Instead, Apple is using a TrueDepth Camera System. It is able to detect your face with a flood illuminator, even in the dark. It also uses an infrared camera that will then take an image and a dot projector will project out over 30,000 invisible infrared dots.

The system will use the infrared image and the infrared dots and pushes them through neural networks to create a mathematical model of your face. This is why showing just a single picture in front of the phone, won’t work to unlock it.

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This is also why Face ID is able to be used to unlock different apps like your banking apps. As it’s a lot more secure than just a camera. It also explains why the notch or Dynamic Island is so much larger than on Android smartphones.

How to set up Face ID on an iPhone

If you’re just setting up your iPhone for the first time, you should be asked in the set up process to setup Face ID. If not, here’s how you can do it.

Open the Settings app.

Now tap on Face ID and Passcode.

You’ll now be asked to enter your existing passcode or create a new one. This is necessary as it is the fallback, for when Face ID can’t recognize you.

Face ID iPhone AM AH 3

Next, you’ll need to remove any mask or glasses that you’re wearing. You can set up Face ID with these later.

Now, tap on Set Up Face ID.

Next, you’ll be asked to move your head around in a circle. This takes about 20 seconds, depending on how far away your head is from the camera.

And you’re all set. Some might be asked to do a second scan, but Apple has mostly removed that with the iPhone 13 and later.

How to set up Face ID with a mask and/or glasses on an iPhone

Now that you have set up your initial Face ID scan for your iPhone, you can now set it up with a mask and/or glasses on. You’ll need to do it separate actually. So here’s how to do it.

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Set up with a mask

Go to Settings.

Tap on Face ID and Passcode, and enter your passcode.

Now, tap the toggle next to Face ID with a Mask.

Face ID iPhone AM AH 1

Here, you’ll be taken into a menu to set up Face ID with a Mask. It’ll scan you with a mask on, and then you’ll be all set.

Set up with glasses

Go to Settings.

Tap on Face ID and Passcode, and enter your passcode.

Now, tap on Set Up an Alternate Appearance.

Face ID iPhone AM AH 2

Here, you’ll go through the Face ID process again, this time with your glasses on. So repeat the same steps you did earlier here.

And then you’ll be all set. Now, you likely won’t need to do this. Face ID is pretty good about recognizing people with glasses on and without them on. But this should help make things easier.