The idea of locking your phone using sensitive information like your facial features can be a bit unsafe. Where is the data on your Face ID stored? Does it really help you secure your iPhone? Does using Face ID mean you are now part of a facial recognition database? Is Face ID safe to use?
Face ID has been touted by Apple as the best biometric security you can use. It’s also easy, as you don’t have to remember anything to just look at the camera.
Of course, there’s the option to add a passcode to your phone (and it’s mandatory to use it even if you turn on Face ID, in case it doesn’t), so Face ID is more secure than ever. how much compared to?
The truth is that you don’t need to worry too much about using this feature and here’s why.
How Apple Stores Your Face ID
The data generated on your face when you first create Face ID never actually leaves your iPhone. It’s definitely not added to any database, stored in a server, or sent anywhere else. Instead, it’s kept in a processor on your iPhone, separate from the main processor, known as the SEP, or secure area processor.
Furthermore, a realistic representation of your face is not actually saved (such as an image or 3D model) but instead, your Face ID’s mathematical data is stored in memory. So if someone somehow manages to get into this SEP, they won’t see your real face, but just the numbers that represent it.
The iPhone’s main processor never gets to this data, it only recognizes whether the SEP that tells your face matches the data stored there. So now that you know your face is safe, you might be wondering how safe it really is to use this feature.
How secure is Face ID?
In practice, is Face ID a better option than just a passcode? Face ID, as well as Touch ID, the other biometric security method Apple has used for older devices, has proven to be quite difficult to crack.
The problem occurs if someone tries to create fake versions of your face in a 3D model to hack into your phone. And once your identity has been compromised in this way, you won’t be able to really go back to using your face as a security measure again.
However, situations like these shouldn’t really worry you unless you’re a high profile person or have extremely sensitive data on your phone that someone might want. And if any thieves try to steal your phone, most of the time they won’t care much about it if they see it’s already secured by other means. Most petty thieves don’t want the hassle of trying to unlock your phone.
Though if they are determined, maybe they can force you to look at your phone to open it. In this case, Face ID is basically useless because it’s easy for an attacker to put your face on your phone. So is there a better option to secure your phone?
Try using a long passcode instead
While using Face ID is better than not using it, you’ll always have better security if you choose to use a passcode instead. The length of the cipher is also important. 4-digit calculators are extremely easy to guess, but the more numbers you add, the harder it is to unlock.
To get an idea of how secure a longer passcode is, while a 4-digit code might take 7 minutes to crack, a 10-digit one can take 12 years. You also have the option of setting up an alphanumeric code on your iPhone, which also enhances security.
However, if you’re not too worried about someone breaking into your iPhone and don’t actually store any sensitive information on it, then Face ID should be enough for you. And if you want extra security, you always have the option to change your Face ID and passcode settings in your iPhone settings.
No method is completely safe
Of course, no matter what method you use to secure your phone, nothing is completely impenetrable. There will always be a way to compromise a security measure. It is simply a matter of finding which one is least likely to happen.
In the case of iPhone authentication, it is clear that using a long and complex passcode is the best way to secure. But if you’re not really serious about it and need something easy, Face ID is perfectly fine to use.
However, we recommend using a method that is as safe as possible, because as it has been said, it is better to be safe than sorry. Nearly everyone uses their phones for important tasks with sensitive data, such as banking apps, saved passwords, or other personal information. Even if you don’t think it can happen to you, phones are always stolen. Whichever method you choose, make sure you make at least one selection.