PC Magazine Technology How-To

How to Set Up and Use Face ID on the iPhone X

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Face ID is relatively quick and painless once you learn all its tricks.

Move over Touch ID. All you proud parents of an iPhone X have a new way to unlock your phone.

With other iPhones, you press the Home button to gain access; if you have Touch ID enabled, you hold your finger on the button to be scanned. There is no Home button or Touch ID on the iPhone X. Instead, you scan your face using the phone’s TrueDepth camera—even in the dark—with a technology Apple calls Face ID.

So how do you tap into Face ID? What do you do if you bump into problems? Never fear. Working with Face ID is smooth and simple as long as you know the right steps. Let’s check out how to set up and use Face ID.

  • 1Face ID & Passcode

    You can establish Face ID either during the initial setup of your iPhone X or after setup has finished. To do so after setup, open Settings > Face ID & Passcode. Enter your passcode. Tap on the link to “Set Up Face ID.”
  • 2Initial Setup

    At the initial setup screen, tap the Get Started button. Place your face in the camera frame and then move your head in a circle as if you were stretching your neck. After the first scan is complete, tap Continue. Again, move your face around until the scan is complete. Tap Done.
  • 3Review Settings

    Now review the settings on the Face ID & Passcode screen to see if you want to change anything. By default, Apple turns on Face ID for the iPhone Unlock, Apple Pay, iTunes & App Store purchases, and Safari AutoFill fields. Face ID also requires your attention, meaning you need to directly look at your phone for it to kick in. Attention Aware features are turned on so that the camera checks for your attention before dimming the display or lowering the volume on alerts. Further down the screen, you can reset your Face ID and change or turn off the passcode. Toward the bottom of the screen, pick which features you want to be able to see or access when your phone is locked.
  • 4Face ID in Action

    Okay, now let’s check out Face ID in action. Tap the Power button (aka the Sleep/Wake button) to lock your phone. Don’t look at your phone just yet, instead glance at it from the side. Tap the screen and you’ll see the Lock screen with the Lock icon at the top. Now look at your phone, and the lock icon should change to unlocked. That grants you access to any personal information on the Lock screen, such as notifications and missed phone calls. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to gain entry to your Home screen.

    We can try that step again, only quicker. Press the Power button to lock your phone. Then just look at your phone, and it should unlock. Swipe from the bottom to get past the Lock screen. You can also try this out by letting your phone naturally segue to the Lock screen after waiting a certain period of time.

  • 5Make a Purchase

    How about using Face ID to okay a purchase? Open the App Store or iTunes Store. Select an item you want to download. Tap on the Get or Price button. A message appears telling you to double-click the side button to install the app or music. Do that and Face ID goes into action to confirm the download.
  • 6Unlock an App

    Let’s try an app that requires unlocking. Open an app for which you’d normally use Touch ID to unlock. The first time you open the app it asks if you want to use Face ID to access it. Tap OK. Face ID reads your face and should then give you access to the app.
  • 7Use Apple Pay

    Now it’s time to use Apple Pay to buy something in the real world. Take a drive to your favorite retail store, coffee shop, or other merchant that accepts Apple Pay. When you’re ready to pay, double-click the side button. Let Face ID scan your face. Hold the phone near the reader, and the transaction should go through.
  • 8Enable iCloud Keychain

    Next let’s look at how to use Face ID to autofill your login credentials at websites via Safari. To do this, you first need to make sure iCloud Keychain is enabled. Go to Settings. Tap on your name at the top of the settings screen. Tap on iCloud. Swipe down to Keychain and make sure it’s turned on. If not, tap on the setting and enable it.
  • 9Autofill Login Credentials

    Next, go back a couple of screens to the main Settings screen. Swipe down and tap on the entry for Safari. In the Safari screen, tap on AutoFill. Make sure the option to Use Contact Info is turned on if you want to use your own contact information. Turn on the option for Names and Passwords if you want Face ID to automatically enter passwords to sign into websites. And turn on the option for Credit Cards if you want Face ID to fill in your credit card number when purchasing items on the web. Then tap on the option for Saved Credit Cards and enter the information for the credit card you wish to use.
  • 10Test it Out

    Now open Safari and surf to a website that requires a password. Enter your username and password. You’re asked if you want to save the password. Tap the option to Save Password. Now sign out of that site. Stay at the site and tap on the Sign in link. Face ID should scan your face. Tap on the Sign in button, and you’re in.
  • 11Manage Passwords

    You can manage your saved website passwords and manually add new ones. You may want to manually add one if Face ID doesn’t automatically ask if you want to save the password when you visit the site. Go to Settings > Accounts & Passwords > App & Website Passwords. Face ID grants you access. You can now delete any existing accounts by swiping to the left and tapping Delete. You can edit an account by tapping on it and entering the new information. And you can create a new account by tapping on the Add Password link and entering the URL, username, and password.
  • 12Troubleshoot Face ID Problems

    Face ID sounds cool and should work quickly and smoothly most of the time. But what if you do run into problems, such as Face ID not responding to or recognizing your face? Here are some tips.

    Make sure you’re looking directly at your phone and not just glancing at it. Apple also recommends that you position your phone about an arm’s length or closer (10-20 inches) from your face to trigger Face ID. Make sure nothing is obstructing the view of the TrueDepth camera, which is on the notch at the top of the screen. If you’re wearing sunglasses and Face ID isn’t working, try taking them off.

    If you’re still having trouble, go back to Settings > Face ID & Passcode and turn off the option to “Require Attention for Face ID.” That will unlock your phone even if your eyes aren’t clearly open and looking at the screen. The drawback, however, is that someone could easily force you to unlock your phone without you having to look at it directly. Finally, if all else fails, try the option to reset your Face ID.

  • 13How to Create and Send Animoji on iPhone X

  • 14iPhone X First Look

    The iPhone X sets the stage for Apple’s next decade, with a sharp new design and a future focus on augmented reality. Check out PCMag’s review.

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