Earlier in the month, we heard the first ever known case of the US law enforcement personnel accessing iPhones through Face ID has taken place. Now, there are rumors that the police all around the US are told to act carefully while handling the iPhones of the suspects so that the security features of the device are not triggered and, hence, disabling the Face ID feature completely.
Currently, the Face ID feature that comes in iPhones disables itself automatically after five unlock attempts going unsuccessful and then it reverts to ask for the passphrase for unlocking the device. However, the law enforcement does not want such a thing to happen and the reason being while it has the ability to compel individuals to unlock their device using Face ID, it doesn’t have same powers to actually force them into entering the passphrase.
A report from Motherboard suggests that Elcomsoft, which is a forensics company, is teaching the police officials as to how they can avoid triggering the Face ID feature on iPhone. They are warned not to look at iPhone screen because otherwise the same thing would happen that actually took place at the Apple’s event.
This is the reference to the instance when Craig Federighi from Apple came up with a problematic iPhone X at the time of its announcement. As multiple people had handled the phone before that event, the Face Id had been disabled. Obviously, Federighi wasn’t aware of that and when he actually began the demo of its latest headline feature, the result was a failed attempt because the phone demanded him to enter a passphrase instead. So, law enforcement in the US would like to avoid that same outcome.
Talking to Motherboard, Vladmir Katalov, the CEO at Elcomsoft, explained:
“It’s very simple. You need a passcode after 5 unsuccessful attempts of matching a face. So, when you look into the phone of a suspect, investigator would lose an attempt immediately.”
So, if you are actually in such a situation that requires you to disable the Face ID functionality without much of hassle, whether it is about law enforcement or something else, it is advised to press that side button and hold it along with either of the volume buttons so that power-off screen shows up. Doing so will disable Face ID feature until you enter a passphrase set by the owner of the device.