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Privacy

This hidden iPhone setting puts you at risk

Your smartphone comes loaded with security settings, but they may not always be so apparent. We’ve compiled some essential ones. Tap or click here for new iPhone and Android security features to turn on.

Among the most common methods to unlock modern smartphones is facial recognition. It’s convenient, but it has drawbacks, not the least of which is training us to be OK with facial scans.

You may wonder if someone could trick facial recognition into unlocking your phone without your knowledge (like when you’re sleeping). Is this possible? It is. Read on for a simple solution.

Apple’s advanced facial recognition system

Apple’s Face ID uses the TrueDepth camera to capture accurate face data by projecting and analyzing thousands of invisible dots. It maps all your curves and wrinkles and stores that data as a key to unlock your phone.

Face ID automatically adapts to changes in your appearance, such as wearing makeup or growing facial hair. If there’s a more significant change in your appearance, like shaving your beard, Face ID confirms your identity by using your passcode before it updates your face data.

Face ID is designed to work with hats, scarves, glasses, contact lenses, face masks and sunglasses. Apple claims there’s just a one-in-a-million chance that someone else’s face can unlock your iPhone. OK, that’s good to know. But what about your own face?

A common fear is that someone could hold your phone to your face while you’re sleeping to unlock it. The thing is that these systems don’t work if your eyes are closed. Whew!

But wait! There’s a way to bypass this safeguard built into your phone. Read on to prevent this from happening.

For Android users: Have an Android phone or know someone who does? Update it, or anyone can use this trick to unlock it.

Check your settings

Smartphones come packed with accessibility features for people with vision, hearing or mobility impairments. You can make the text on your screen larger or have the phone dictate what’s on the screen. AssistiveTouch helps you use your iPhone if you have difficulty touching the screen or pressing the buttons. 

These are essential tools for the people who need them, but there’s one setting that could put your security at risk. Face ID also has an accessibility feature to support people who are blind or have poor vision. With this setting, you don’t need to open your eyes to unlock your phone.

While there are certainly people who need this, you shouldn’t use it if your vision isn’t impaired. Here’s where to find it:

  • Go to Settings > Accessibility > Face ID & Attention.
  • Make sure Require Attention for Face ID is enabled.

While this setting is enabled by default, someone with access to your phone could disable it and unlock it while you sleep. That’s a scary thought, so a quick check here is more than worth it.

Note: This accessibility setting is automatically disabled if you enabled VoiceOver during the initial setup.

You may also like: How to get ahold of someone whose iPhone is on Do Not Disturb

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