Apple’s Face ID is the heralded new feature of the iPhone X and is expected to be applied to future iPhones moving forwards, and possibly iPads as well (we wouldn’t rule out the possibility of its arriving on Macs either). However it seems that the feature has been hit with some controversy over in China, and is accused of being a “racist”.
This came about when a man from Shanghai bought his wife the iPhone X and discovered that it could be easily unlocked by his son. When he contacted Apple, he was told it was an isolated incident and that it could be due to his wife and son looking similar, which is actually something that we’ve seen before.
However this isn’t the only time that Face ID has been tricked to unlock by a non-authorized user. According to a report from AsiaOne a week ago, another Chinese woman had an incident with Face ID when her colleague, who was unrelated to her, managed to unlock her phone using Face ID. She was told by a customer service rep that it was “impossible”, until she took the phone to the store and proceed to demonstrate it for them.
This has prompted some publications to call Face ID “racist” by suggesting that all Chinese people look the same, although we should point out that none of those affected have actually made such claims. In fact according to Madam Wan, the colleague of the woman in question, their issue seems to have more to do with its effectiveness, “We look quite ordinary. What if someone picks up my phone and opens it? Then they could buy stuff through my phone and make payments. We don’t have any sense of security.”
It is unclear how Apple plans to address this, but assuming these reports are true, it’s definitely an area that Apple needs to work on.