Face ID with prosthetic eyes

iOS & iPadOS

Hello, I'm interested in experiences with Face ID On iPhone for people with prosthetic eyes. I've read Apple's page on the subject but I'd be more interested in the real world experience of using this technology. Do you have to turn off the "attention" setting to make it work effectively?
I understand that the current use of masks would also affect its use but I would be keen to hear from anyone who has had good or bad experiences.



Submitted by Ishkabibble on Wednesday, September 2, 2020

I don't have prosthetic eyes myself, but I can make a pretty good judgement of how FaceID will work with them based on how the system authenticates your face to log you in. If FaceID sees that you are awake and looking at the camera, it will let you in. Since prosthetic eyes mimic the appearance of actual eyes you should be able to use FaceID with them with the attention setting turned on, but if you aren't able to focus the direction your prosthetic eyes are looking at, you will need to turn the attention setting off, which will let you authenticate even when your eyes are closed or out of focus. Hope this helps.

Submitted by Ally on Thursday, September 3, 2020

I have prosthetic eyes and I've never had an issue using FaceID. it doesn't seem to make a difference if the attention detection setting is on or off.
Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. :)

Submitted by Maldalain on Thursday, September 3, 2020

When I got my new iPhone a week ago, I found that FaceID setting wizard expected there is something wrong with my eyes, interestingly enough the taken photo for FaceID showed me with something like glasses on my eyes. It looked like dark circles on my eyes. Maybe you will have better luck with prosthetic eyes then.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Friday, September 4, 2020

It is my understanding that, if you are blind, turning off the Attention Detection setting is all you need to do. This means that your eyes do not have to directly focus on the phone so the prosthetics won't matter if this setting is off.

Submitted by Skippy on Saturday, September 5, 2020

I don’t have prosthetic eyes, but I must turn the attention feature off, if I want Face ID to work. By the way, if you use voiceover, the setting is disabled automatically.


Thanks for that. Good to know.
As I said, I was looking for direct experience of using Face ID by people who had prosthetic eyes. My concern was based on the fact the eyes would not be seen as "live tissue" by the infra-red camera used for Face ID (which is my understanding how it operates). I suspected that Face ID may see the eyes in the same way as it might see a pair of glasses or sunglasses, which I've heard can cause a problem. But as you said, it appears that it can operate with prosthetic eyes. I suspect that the best way to check is to try it out at an Apple store.

Submitted by LBM on Tuesday, November 24, 2020

I thought I would add a follow up to my original post based on my own personal experience of using Face ID on my iPhone 12 as someone who has prosthetic eyes.
The good news is that it seems that Face ID works well for me and that the prosthetic eyes do not cause a problem.
I should say that I setup the iPhone 12 using VoiceOver and so the "attention" setting was unchecked as part of the setup, and I have not tried using Face ID with this attention setting returned to on. That said I undertand that Face ID still provides sufficient security with the attention setting turned off; actually it still provides more security than the previous Touch ID method.
Obviously the best advice for anyone wanting to check this for themselves would be to go to an Apple Store, but in the current circumstances this might not be possible. But from my experience, a person with prosthetic eyes should not have a problem using Face ID.
Hope this helps.

Submitted by Mabbs92 on Tuesday, November 24, 2020

I have prosthetic eyes and Face ID works perfectly--almost scarily well for me, even when my phone is in my lap. As long as you configure it right you should be fine; I have the attention feature turned off. I haven't tried with it on but don't really see a need to.

Submitted by Mister Kayne on Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Not considering the variables like light conditions; Face ID should ideally work by catching biometric information of the eyes of the user; to my understanding the iris.

Considering that some use eye glasses and prosthetic eyes; Face ID should be intelligent enough to take the face structure into consideration no matter the different angles you hold the phone to your face; which is another variable. That would be the intelligence I would expect out of Face ID with respect to wearing a mask like how you have the ability to pass through to your phone with glasses/ without glasses/ prosthetic I would imagine like how the Touch ID allows you to add multiple fingers to your Touch ID you should be able to create multiple profiles of your Face. I know it is asking too much from a users perspective because you will have to make the following profiles for Face ID to work irrespective of the variables:
1. Your Face without glasses/ mask
2. Your Face with glasses
3. Your Face with mask
4. Your Face with glasses and mask

Other variables to be considered is different glasses/ mask or face covering etc. I think Face ID is very futuristic and is to stay unless apple surprises us with a digital touch ID without a button!

Submitted by LBM on Thursday, January 14, 2021

With Attention-detection turned off, which is the default when using VoiceOver, FaceID uses the structure of the face to determine identity.
This is why it does not work with a mask, since the infrared light cannot travel through the mask. This is also why you cannot simply train FaceID to work with a mask, because the structure of the mask is different each time it is viewed, and this is before the IR reflection from mask material is considered.
The use of the structure of the face is also the reason why FaceID works with and without glasses, and with different glasses.
With Attention-detection enabled FaceID will use further structural data, including the shape of the eyes. Even with attention-detection enabled the above restrictions based on mask wearing still apply.