Apple has gotten a lot of flak from governments over their decision to encrypt phones and giving users the key. This means that police in certain countries and under certain instances cannot compel suspects to unlock their phones. Apple has also built in certain safeguards which will prevent devices from unlocking should too many failed attempts be made.
In the case of iPhones with Face ID, users can try up to five times before the feature is disabled and users will need to unlock it using a password. It is because of this that police have been advised by a security company by the name of Elcomsoft to avoid looking at iPhones with Face ID as much as possible to avoid accidentally using one of those tries. This is according to a presentation slide that was obtained by Motherboard.
The company has since confirmed the authenticity of the slide and in a chat with Motherboard, Vladimir Katalov, CEO of Elcomsoft said, “This is quite simple. Passcode is required after five unsuccessful attempts to match a face. So by looking into suspect’s phone, [the] investigator immediately lose one of [the] attempts.”
That being said while Apple has been trying to make its devices as secure as possible, law enforcement agencies have been turning to outside companies for solutions on unlocking devices, such as the GrayKey which has been used to unlock phones belonging to suspects.