With the launch of the iPhone XS and XR last year, Apple has gone all-in on Face ID. And while there may be some users who miss the fingerprint sensor, I’m not one of them.
The latest batch of new iPhones that came out in September 2018 was the first not to include Touch ID at all. After owning my first Touch ID-less iPhone for several months now, I can’t say that I’m upset by this move from Apple.
Face ID Is So Much More Convenient
Touch ID is already pretty convenient—way more convenient than typing in a passcode every time—but Face ID takes it to a whole new level. It’s like Touch ID, but you don’t even have to scan your fingerprint.
Both techniques still require a bit of action on your part to unlock the phone and get to the home screen, but with Face ID it’s just a swipe up from the bottom. Whereas with Touch ID, you have to make sure to place your finger in a specific location on the phone and then wait for it to unlock.
In other words, you don’t even really have to think about unlocking your phone with Face ID. Instead, it just happens, and that’s the kind of convenience I’m after.
It’s More Accurate Than Touch ID Ever Was
Having used Face ID for a while now, I can say that the number of times it hasn’t recognize my face has been a lot less than the number of times Touch ID hasn’t recognized my fingerprint.
I honestly can’t even remember a time when I was looking straight into Face ID, and it flat out told me it didn’t recognize me—it’s that good. On the other hand, I can remember plenty of times when Touch ID would act finicky and not recognize my finger at all.
Perhaps my fingers were a bit wet or something, but Touch ID has too many variables that have to be right for it to work perfectly whereas Face ID works with minimal requirements.
Face ID Has Its Flaws, but They’re Trivial
Of course, Face ID isn’t perfect. One of its biggest flaws is that you have to be staring straight at it for it to recognize your face and unlock your phone, which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but you immediately understand it once you start interacting with your phone on a day-to-day basis.
One thing I do a lot is to lay my phone on my desk and then tap on the screen to wake it up to see if I have any notifications that I might have missed. If I do, I want to unlock my phone to interact with those notifications. However, if I’m leaned back in my chair, the Face ID camera can’t recognize me. I either have to pick up my phone or lean forward to appear in the camera’s field of view.
This is pretty trivial, and it’s not a significant enough reason to bash Face ID, since all the other times I use it completely make up for any shortfalls.
The Bottom Line
I’ve gotten so used to Face ID that it feels incredibly primitive going back to Touch ID (I still have my old iPhone 6 that I use on occasion).
At this point, it doesn’t even feel like Face ID, and Touch ID are in the same league. That’s not to say that Touch ID is terrible, but it’s one of those things that once you experience Face ID, you’ll never want to go back.