Unlocking The Power Of iPhone Face ID: Tips, Tricks, & Troubleshooting

Love or hate Apple, there's no denying that when the tech giant slam-dunks, it slam-dunks hard. Security is one of the primary reasons why people say they prefer iPhone over Android, and when Apple released Face ID in 2017, it set the bar at a new high for biometric authentication. So high that to this day no Android phone has created a face unlock as capable or secure. Samsung is still working on a Face ID equivalent — almost a decade later — that can take on Apple's Face ID. Meanwhile, Apple has moved on, making sci-fi a reality with the iris-scanning Optic ID functioning as the Vision Pro's twist on Face ID.

Face ID is simply a joy to use and helps dull the sting of Apple's many anti-consumer behaviors. In almost every situation, it just works. It's fast, adapts to changes in your appearance, functions in the dark, and is 100% offline and on-device, among other benefits. The iPhone's TrueDepth tech uses infrared imaging and dot-map projection to ensure tenacious hackers can't even use a wax head simulacrum of you — a technique that has fooled many Android phones. Face ID isn't perfect; it sometimes unlocks for your family members, and hackers have in the past found clever ways to bypass it, but it still comes out on top. Whether you're new to the iPhone or a lifelong user, there are ways to make it even better. Today we'll cover tips, tricks, and troubleshooting for iPhone Face ID.

Require attention for Face ID

One of the main drawbacks of the face unlock biometric is that it's not smart enough to tell whether it's you who wants to open your phone, or someone else with malicious intentions. You've probably seen that hilarious YouTube video of a jealous girlfriend trying to unlock her man's phone by shoving it in his face as he ducks and weaves. Fortunately, Face ID includes a feature to mitigate that sort of thing: "Require attention for Face ID." According to Apple, it only unlocks your iPhone when your eyes are open and pointed at the screen. No one will be able to authenticate purchases or sign into your bank apps if you're asleep or if you're looking away.

This is helpful even if someone isn't necessarily trying to steal your phone. Attention awareness features can, as one example, keep the screen from dimming during use, or prevent a loud alarm from blaring in your face. Awareness settings are on by default unless you enable VoiceOver during setup (a helpful Accessibility feature we'll mention later), but otherwise, we highly advise against disabling it for convenience's sake. Apple states clearly that doing so weakens Face ID. Head to Settings > Face ID & Passcode, then toggle "Require Attention for Face ID" and "Attention Aware Features" to enable it.