Craig Federighi: Apple Focused on Single-User Face ID, Touch ID Was Never Intended for Multiple Users

Apple's current focus with Face ID is on single-user authentication, suggesting support for multiple faces won't be added in the near future, according to an alleged email from the company's software engineering chief Craig Federighi.


By comparison, Touch ID can store up to five fingerprints, and each of those fingerprints can belong to a different person. This allows a married couple, for example, to be able to securely authenticate a single iPhone.

In an email to a customer, however, Federighi appears to admit that Touch ID's multi-finger support has always been intended for a single iPhone owner to authenticate with a finger or thumb on both the left and right hand if desired.

Federighi added that Face ID could eventually authenticate multiple faces as the system evolves in the future, but his email makes it clear that Apple doesn't have any immediate plans to implement said functionality.

The user who shared this email on Reddit has a good reputation and history on the website, so we're inclined to believe it is authentic. However, we are still waiting to receive full headers of the email to verify its origins.

A screenshot of Craig Federighi's alleged email response to a customer

Apple says Face ID has a one in 1,000,000 chance of being spoofed, compared to one in 50,000 for Touch ID, although the probability of a false match is higher among identical twins, siblings who look alike, and children.

Vietnamese security firm Bkav has also been able to spoof Face ID twice with 3D printed masks, but the steps involved are quite complex and this isn't something the average user should be very concerned about.

In practical, real-world usage, Face ID has proved to be very secure and reliable. But, at least for now, it appears that iPhone X owners won't be able to extend this convenience to their trusted family members or friends.


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Craig Federighi Says 3D Touch App Switcher Gesture Will Return in Future Update to iOS 11

Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi has revealed that a popular 3D Touch gesture for accessing the App Switcher will apparently return in a future update to iOS 11.

Federighi, replying to an email from MacRumors reader Adam Zahn, said Apple had to "temporarily drop support" for the gesture due to an unidentified "technical constraint."

Question from Zahn: Could we at least make the 3D Touch app switch gesture an option in iOS 11 so that I could retain the ability to switch apps that way instead of having to double tap the home button?

Response from Federighi: Hi Adam,

We regretfully had to temporarily drop support for this gesture due to a technical constraint. We will be bringing it back in an upcoming iOS 11.x update.

Thanks (and sorry for the inconvenience)!

- craig

On devices that support 3D Touch running iOS 9 or iOS 10, users can press deeply on the left side of the screen, drag to the right, and release to quickly access the App Switcher. The gesture stopped working in the iOS 11 beta, and an Apple engineer later confirmed it was "intentionally removed."


MacRumors has verified this email exchange passed through mail servers with an IP address range linked to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California. Coupled with the fact Federighi has been replying to several customer emails since the iPhone X event last week, we're fairly confident in its accuracy.

Federighi replies have also revealed that Face ID will work with most sunglasses and that Apple has considered a Nightstand mode for iPhone X.


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Craig Federighi: Apple Has Considered Nightstand Mode for iPhone X

Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi has revealed that Apple has considered a Nightstand mode for iPhone X.


"This is definitely something we've considered," said Federighi, in response to an email from MacRumors reader Zain. "This probably makes the most sense for customers who charge their phone in a dock that tilts up the phone."

However, Federighi noted that it's "not currently super common" for people to charge their iPhones that way.

Nightstand mode is an Apple Watch feature that allows the watch to be used as a nightstand clock and an alarm clock while it is laying on its side and charging. The watch displays the time in large text, along with the date, the battery's remaining charge, and an upcoming alarm if one is set.

When the Apple Watch is in Nightstand mode and isn't being used, the display turns off. To see the display again, users tap it, press the Digital Crown or the side button, or lightly nudge the Apple Watch. Sometimes, even nudging or tapping the nightstand or other surface the watch is sitting on works.

Since the iPhone X can't be positioned on its side by itself, it could be placed on a wireless charging pad with an angled stand, like this one from RAVPower. Coupled with new tap to wake functionality for the display, the idea of a Nightstand mode for iPhone X could make sense.

Apple could add Nightstand mode to iPhone X in a future update to iOS 11, but it's possible they've already dismissed the idea.

Federighi has been replying to several customer emails over the past week following Apple's iPhone X event at Steve Jobs Theater. MacRumors obtained full headers of this latest email, which can be traced back to Apple's headquarters.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Tags: Craig Federighi, Nightstand mode

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Apple Acknowledges Siri Leadership Has Officially Moved From Eddy Cue to Craig Federighi

Apple has updated its executive profiles to acknowledge that software engineering chief Craig Federighi now officially oversees development of Siri. The responsibility previously belonged to Apple's services chief Eddy Cue.

Craig Federighi is Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, reporting to CEO Tim Cook. Craig oversees the development of iOS, macOS, and Siri. His teams are responsible for delivering the software at the heart of Apple’s innovative products, including the user interface, applications and frameworks.
Apple's leadership page is only now reflecting Federighi's role as head of Siri, but the transition has been apparent for several months, based on recent interviews and stage appearances at Apple's keynotes.

At WWDC 2016, for example, Federighi and Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller joined Daring Fireball's John Gruber to discuss how Apple was opening Siri up to third-party developers with SiriKit later that year.

At WWDC 2017, Federighi was on stage to discuss improvements to Siri in iOS 11, including more natural voice, built-in translation capabilities, and advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Cue continues to oversee the iTunes Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, Apple Maps, iCloud, and the iWork and iLife suites of apps, and handing off Siri should allow him to focus more on Apple's push into original content.

Apple's updated leadership page also now lists profiles for recent hires Deirdre O'Brien, Vice President of People, and Isabel Ge Mahe, Vice President and Managing Director of Greater China.


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Watch ‘The Talk Show’ Live From WWDC 2017 With Craig Federighi and Phil Schiller

Daring Fireball has shared the full video of "The Talk Show Live" from Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference this week.


Before a live audience at The California Theatre in San Jose, Apple senior executives Craig Federighi and Phil Schiller joined host John Gruber to reflect on the company's announcements at its WWDC opening keynote on Monday, including several new Macs, macOS High Sierra, iOS 11, and HomePod.

The video, produced by Amy Jane Gruber and Paul Kafasis, is available on Vimeo and embedded below.


MacRumors has put together a WWDC 2017 roundup with the latest news and announcements from the conference.

Related Roundup: WWDC 2017
Tags: Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi

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