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Apple has announced iOS 12 and it comes with a slew of new features. Apple showcased most of the important new features of iOS 12, but the tech giant didn’t show off the “Alternative Appearance” feature of Face ID at its WWDC keynote event.
Apple’s iOS 12 update will actually let a second person register their face for Face ID, as first discovered by 9To5Mac. This new feature is hidden within the Face ID settings, under “Appearances.” There’s an option present there that lets users “Set up an Alternate Appearance.”
“In addition to continuously learning how you look, Face ID can recognize an alternate appearance,” the description for the new feature reads. That may sound a bit vague, but tests appear to show that this will actually let a another person register a second face for Face ID. AppleInsider tried the new feature out and it does work for up to two different faces.
This neat feature will let two different people have access to a single iPhone. However, it does present one disadvantage. When users set up an Alternate Appearance, they will have to remove both of the registered faces to reset a single Face ID. This is unfortunate because this will also erase the data that the iPhone X collected to learn the owner’s face.
On older iPhones, Touch ID allows different fingers to be registered from different people. It keeps the phone secure, while letting trusted friends and family have access to the device. Meanwhile, Face ID on iOS 11 only allows one registered face.
This new iOS 12 feature might be used by many to have a second person have access to their iPhones, but it seems like that’s not the exact reason why Apple made it. It is believed that the new feature was really made to recognize the user’s face when they’re wearing other accessories, like hats or sunglasses, that may be hindering Face ID from working.
Another rumor that’s been brewing is that the new feature may be Apple’s way of preparing Face ID for its next line of upgraded iPads. The iOS 12 beta for the iPad shows that it comes with support for gesture controls that are similar to the iPhone X. The beta software also changes the location of the time/date and the battery/network icons on top of the screen. These suggest that the new iPads may have a bezel-less design and a notch on top of their displays. It would make sense for Apple to add multi-user support for Face ID on iPads.