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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Apple's Face ID feature that allows a device to be unlocked with a facial scan is limited to the iPhone and the iPad at the current time, but code found in macOS Big Sur suggests that Face ID may come to Macs in the future.


Adding a TrueDepth camera system and Face ID to the Mac would be a logical next step for the feature, and 9to5Mac located Face ID references in the latest Big Sur beta, including an extension with code to support a "PearlCamera" function.

"Pearl" is the codename that Apple has used for Face ID and the TrueDepth camera system since the feature first launched in the iPhone X.

There are "FaceDetect" and "BioCapture" references inside the extension, and those names certainly suggest a TrueDepth camera feature for Mac.

Right now, Apple's MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models use Touch ID, and have a Touch ID button built into the keyboard that's powered by the T2 chips in the machines. Apple's Macs have supported Touch ID since 2016 when the Touch Bar was first introduced in MacBook Pro models.

There's no word on when Macs might get Face ID support or which Macs will be first to get it, but there are some major design tweaks rumored for machines like the iMac, the MacBook Air, and the MacBook Pro with the transition to mini-LED and Apple Silicon chips, so Face ID could be rolled out alongside of these updates.

It could also be a feature that will take longer to implement, and we've thus far heard no confirmed rumors on when Apple might make the transition.

Article Link: Code in macOS Big Sur Suggests Face ID Could Be Coming to Macs


Staff member
Dec 9, 2008
Huh, so that mockup looks a little different from what I was imagining, but it's still okay I guess.

NOTCH iMac icons copy.jpg

It does make sense to start out with the iMac though, given that MacBooks already have built-in keyboards.

It's analogous to the iPhone lineup: TouchID for home button phones, FaceID for buttonless.


macrumors 65816
Apr 17, 2007
I kind of figured that this would be coming. It almost makes sense now why they’ve kept MacBook webcams so crappy, when it would make Face ID cameras shine even more at launch. I don’t agree with stalling incremental upgrades to their hardware because “something really awesome is in the pipeline so it’s worth waiting! trust us!” but as an Apple customer I do understand it.


macrumors 68040
Jul 16, 2014
Face ID makes much more sense than Touch ID for the Mac.

On an iMac it makes way more sense, as TouchID would be hosted in an external keyboard.
On a Macbook, TouchID is convenient and easy to reach, I'd be happy with FaceID but think when you use it on the iPhone for payments, you have to double click on the side button to activate it. On the Mac, they'd need to do something else, but they can't validate a payment without a user input just because the user is staring at the screen. TouchID is more convenient in that scenario, while for unlocking the Mac FaceID is better.


macrumors 604
May 31, 2007
Florida, USA
FaceID would be amazing for an iMac used by multiple people.

Imagine sitting down in front of your iMac and it automatically unlocks YOUR session (or logs in if you haven't yet). You don't even have to tell it who you are. When you get up, it locks the screen after a few seconds. It would be seamless.

I'm really surprised Apple hasn't done this yet since it's so obvious and would be such a cool "magic-like" feature, which we know Apple tends to be fond of.


macrumors 6502a
Oct 3, 2015
I’ve always thought that the FaceID module was too thick for the display thickness in the MacBook Air and Pro. Maybe I’m wrong. But I’d love it if the neural engine would be able to handle more than 2 faces, so that each user could be logged in automatically with just sitting down in front of the computer.

maybe for purchase authentications instead of pressing on the side button twice like on an iPhone it would just have you blink twice for yes, three times for no. ?


macrumors 6502
Oct 24, 2011
Back in the good old days, if someone wanted my password they would have to beat it out of me, and they wouldn't succeed. Nowadays, thanks to Apple, all they have to do is cut off my finger. With this new "advancement" now they also have the option of cutting off my head. Apple is making my life fraught with new dangers never before possible ;-).


macrumors 65816
Jan 13, 2006
I'm surprised and disappointed it wasn't included on my 16" 2019 MBP. After buying an iPad Pro and using it there, I'm now a believer compared to using Touch ID.
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