Say cheese! New Apple patent lets you unlock your iPhone with a selfie

Apple iPhone 6
When Apple introduced its Touch ID unlock system, in which users simply place their finger on the home button and the iPhone identifies them based on their fingerprint, it was a big step forward in security. According to Re/Code, the Cupertino company has patented a new way to unlock mobile devices: with a selfie.

Patent US 20120235790 A1, branded with the on-the-nose title “Locking and unlocking a mobile device using facial recognition,” suggests that the proposed technology could use the camera on an iPhone to identify a user, and then unlock or lock the device depending on what it saw. It’s one part convenience, one part security, and a step toward the biometric passwords that previously existed only in the sci-fi realm.

Apple describes a variety of potential uses throughout the patent, but they all revolve around the device snapping a quick picture and analyzing the image to determine who is using the phone. If the image is identified as the primary user, the device would unlock, saving the “hassle” of an additional swipe or password.

iPhone Unlock

The facial recognition could also extend beyond just the primary user. If an account is set up for a guest, the phone may be able to identify a friend or family member and grant them limited access to the device. Apple’s photo software iPhoto is already capable of identifying faces, so it seems like a logical step forward.

As some frustrated soul will be sure to point out, Apple is not the first company to dream up or attempt to implement facial recognition, just as it wasn’t the first to use the fingerprint identifier. Google Nexus devices have a “Smart Lock” feature for devices running Android 5.0 and higher that utilizes facial recognition to unlock the device.

Success with facial recognition is still rather spotty. According to a 2010 report by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the FBI’s facial recognition software fails 20 percent of the time. Often times, even “refined” facial recognition like Facebook and iPhoto come up with some wildly off base guesses.

Apple may have a patent on the technology for unlocking a smartphone, but it’ll have to prove that the software is actual capable of doing what it claims before anyone is going to trust it.


The May 2019 update for Windows 10 is live. Here’s how to get your hands on it

Launched this week, Microsoft's May 2019 update for Windows 10 releases a slew of new features, primarily simple and powerful security tools, for home and enterprise users. You can get your hands on these tools by installing the new update…

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera isn't giving you the results you want, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses -- something no phone can touch.

Your OnePlus 7 Pro is awesome out of the box, but there's more to discover

You've got your awesome new OnePlus 7 Pro in your hand, and you want to make sure it's set up correctly. Here's our complete guide to the settings you should change, and features you must know about, on the OnePlus 7 Pro.
Home Theater

Plex is free and easy, and you'll wonder how you survived without it

If you want a Netflix-like experience for the media you already own, you need Plex. It's the free media center software that automatically catalogs and plays your movies, music, photos, and more, on your TV. Here's how to use it.

You can't fool us -- this is definitely the Moschino Honor 20 Pro phone

Honor has launched the Honor 20 Pro and the Honor 20 at an event that took place in London. The new smartphone is surprisingly compact, with an impressive four-lens camera for taking stunning shots, day or night.

Amazon Memorial Day sale: Apple Watch, Surface Pro, and 4K TV Deals

Amazon is discounting a number of different items. Smartwatches, tablets, 4K TVs, smart home devices, and laptops are all getting discounts to stay competitive with prices from Walmart and Best Buy.
Product Review

Garmin’s Forerunner 245 Music is all a runner needs to measure performance

Garmin's new Forerunner 245 fitness watch offers advanced metrics, onboard color maps and music. Is this trio a winning combination? We put the watch through its paces to find out.

The 20 best iPhone SE cases to keep your phone looking like new

Protect your iPhone properly with one of the best iPhone SE cases or covers. That metal-and-glass body is prone to scuffs and scratches, so it pays to buy a decent case. We've got protective and stylish options for you here.
Emerging Tech

The best solar chargers for your phone, tablet, and other battery-powered gear

Looking for a gizmo that can help you charge your phone while on the go? Here, we've outlined the best solar chargers on the market, whether you're looking to charge your phone once, twice, or three times over.

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for May 2019

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals for…

Get your gaming on the go with the 25 best Android games

The Google Play Store is loaded with both terrific and terrible gaming titles. We vetted the store to bring you some of the best Android games available, whether you're into puzzles, shooters, racing games, or something else entirely.

These are the 20 best Android games you can play offline

Even in our increasingly connected world, you don't always have an internet connection on the go. To help you pass the time when you're disconnected, we compiled a list of the best Android games that can be played offline.

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Product Review

Oppo’s cutting-edge Reno has a shark fin pop-up camera, and plenty of bite

The Oppo Reno has a very cool shark fin-style pop-up camera to make it stand out in a crowd, and a rear camera with a 10x zoom, plus there’s a 5G version coming soon. It’s truly up-to-date, with plenty of cutting-edge tech inside.