Using Face ID to take advantage of someone’s phone | What the Tech?

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — iPhone users know, to unlock a phone, you just have to look at it, at least if you have an iPhone X or later.

Have you ever wondered if someone can take advantage of that feature and unlock your phone while you’re asleep? Yes, they can.

I tested it out with my son, sleeping on the couch. I pick up his phone, held it in front of his face, and…presto. I now have access to anything on his phone without him knowing.

The key is in settings under Face ID & Passcode. Down near the bottom, there are options for “Attention.”

If “require attention for Face ID is turned off, the phone will unlock whenever the camera sees your face, even with your eyes closed.

If I turn this on your eyes must be open, looking into the camera for the phone to unlock.

Is there a downside to turning this on? The phone might not unlock as quickly if you’re not looking directly into the camera and it may not work if you’re wearing sunglasses.

If you wear an Apple Watch they might also be able to unlock your phone without using Face ID at all. If “unlock with Apple Watch” is turned on in settings, the phone will unlock if it’s in range of the unlocked watch.

If you’re worried someone may try to unlock your phone while you’re asleep, turn on “require attention” and turn off “unlock” with Apple Watch.