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This Face ID issue will make you regret the iPhone X’s lack of Touch ID

Published Dec 25th, 2017 7:30AM EST
iPhone X Face ID
Image: Apple Inc.

The iPhone X has a sophisticated facial recognition system that has no rival on Android when it comes to security. That’s why Face ID can be used to authenticate Apple Pay payments and App Store purchases.

However, iPhone X users have discovered that they can’t use Face ID to approve family purchases. The unexpected annoyance was discovered just in time for Christmas, which is when many people find iOS devices under the tree.

Face ID works for regular App Store purchases or other digital content from Apple’s online stores, but iPhone users trying to approve purchases for kids or other family members may find themselves having to enter passwords manually.

There’s a thread on Apple’s support forums started on November 11th, that first mentions the problem:

I’m sure that after I set up my iPhone X last weekend, I was able to approve family purchase requests with Face ID. Now, for every request I get (and with 3 kids I get lots of them!) I’m being forced to type in my Apple ID password, which is frustrating given how complicated they have to be these days to be considered secure.

I’ve checked every setting I can find, turned relevant settings off and back on, and even removed the Apple ID from my phone entirely and set it back up again. But sadly, it still wants me to type in the full password. Interestingly, it still lets me use Touch ID on my iPad to approve, so it seems to be specific to the iPhone X/Face ID combo.

Others have observed the same behavior, which seems to be intentional on Apple’s part. Apple, meanwhile, has not explained its thinking.

One possible explanation may be that Apple is trying to prevent children from approving purchases using the iPhone X of their parents, as kids can “hack” Face ID and unlock these devices.

You can approve purchases for family members using your Apple ID password, but that’ll definitely be annoying, especially if you’ve been doing it with the help of Touch ID before the iPhone X

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.