A new report suggests that Apple is planning to bring Face ID to its Mac computers. At the moment, the facial recognition solution is only available on certain iOS devices, though the tech giant has hinted at the possibility of Face ID on Mac computers in prior patent applications.
The latest rumor comes courtesy of 9to5Mac, which dug into the code of the macOS Big Sur beta. There, the site found programming to support the PearlCamera, which is the name that Apple uses internally to refer to the TrueDepth camera that is used for Face ID. The examination also turned up references to FaceDetect and BioCapture systems that were comparable to Apple’s iOS code but built specifically for macOS.
Apple has previously confirmed that new Macs will feature new Apple Silicon chips that come equipped with the same Neural Engine that drives Face ID on the iPhone and the iPad. However, it is not yet clear whether those Macs will offer Face ID, or when Apple plans to introduce the feature.
Several recent MacBooks have offered biometric authentication in the form of Touch ID, allowing users to log in with a fingerprint sensor built into the keyboard of the laptop. That option is slightly less feasible for Apple’s desktop computers, largely because the iMac does not come with a built in keyboard.
Either way, the introduction of Face ID on macOS devices would hardly be a surprise given Apple’s support for the platform, and the overall trajectory of the industry in the past few years. The Windows Hello platform, for example, has already been used to enable face-based authentication in Samsung, Microsoft, and VAIO laptops, while Google now allows people to use the platform to verify their identities when making online payments through the Chrome browser.
July 27, 2020 – by Eric Weiss