Face ID Can't Be Used to Approve Family Purchases on iPhone X

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
49,081
10,422



Increasing numbers of iPhone X owners with children are finding that they are unable to approve family purchases using Face ID. The scale of the frustration was recently highlighted by ArsTechnica, which linked to a page on Apple's support forum containing hundreds of complaints.

Basically, iPhone X users are unable to use facial authentication with the "Ask to Buy" feature, which lets parents approve their kids' iOS purchases and downloads. On iOS devices with Touch ID, parents - or "family organizers", as Apple calls them - can use Touch ID to approve Ask to Buy, but iPhone X owners are forced to enter their password manually on every occasion, which could quickly become a nuisance for device owners with big families.


The inability to approve family purchases with Face ID is noteworthy, given that Apple has marketed it as a functional like-for-like replacement for Touch ID, but with enhanced security and speed. The frustration surrounding the missing functionality appears to have come to a head only recently because of the popularity of App Store gift cards over the holiday season.

Face ID is generally very secure in everyday use cases, and while some attempts to fool the feature have been successful, many involve complicated technical methods and a good deal of preparation.

That said, we have seen evidence of a 10-year-old child unlocking his mother's iPhone X with his face, even though Face ID was set up with her face. Apple itself also notes that Face ID often fails to identify between identical twins, while the probability of a false match is higher among children under the age of 13, because their distinct facial features may not have fully developed. These caveats have led some to speculate whether Apple is erring on the side of caution in choosing not to deploy Face ID for family purchase approval.

In early 2013, Apple settled a class action lawsuit originally filed by parents after their children ran up hundreds of dollars on in-app purchases in freemium games. In 2014, the company entered into an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, promising to provide $32 million in refunds to parents whose children purchased unauthorized in-app items.

Article Link: Face ID Can't Be Used to Approve Family Purchases on iPhone X
 

aidler

macrumors regular
Jun 18, 2009
129
149
As I thought from the beginning. It's not that the technology behind Face ID is flawed in any way. I'm sure Apple has perfected it as Apple does every time. But there will be more and more cases that will show that the inclusion of Face ID in everyday use cases of the iPhone was not well-thought through.
 

bdhokie

macrumors member
Feb 26, 2010
52
114
USA
I have found that the "Apple Ecosystem" leaves families behind more often than not. They've made good strides in recent years, but some of these little details are unbelievably frustrating for parents. My 13 year old son is increasingly hostile to Apple because of this type of seemingly needless roadblock to ease of use. He grew up with Apple products, but when allowed to choose would rather have anything else. I've noticed his friends also have a growing dislike of Apple - not a good trend for Apple (granted mine is a small, unscientific observation).

If the main point for paying a premium for Apple products and services is that they should "just work", Cupertino needs to rethink recent strategies. I've always been willing to pay for the convenience of the ecosystem, but this is another example of where it isn't working for many of us. At some point, despite my investment, I'll have to evaluate if it's worth it.

On a side note, I just spent an hour having to reset my iCloud and keychain settings for the 3rd time this year, this time to get my new Apple Watch to work properly. Given the many threads where people are having to constantly tweak iCloud to work properly across devices, I don't think the Apple ecosystem is "just working".
 

H2SO4

macrumors 601
Nov 4, 2008
4,607
4,928
As I thought from the beginning. It's not that the technology behind Face ID is flawed in any way. I'm sure Apple has perfected it as Apple does every time. But there will be more and more cases that will show that the inclusion of Face ID in everyday use cases of the iPhone was not well-thought through.
So at the same time Apple and others are saying it can be fooled in some cases. You are saying, it’s not flawed in any way and that Apple has perfected it?
 

Bswails

macrumors regular
Jul 28, 2016
169
155
If the organizer is the one to approve the purchase how can a child approve the purchase? They won’t be able to from the device they have right? This seems like Apple just didn’t think about Family share..which in honesty still needs some work. Any time my kids send a request I’m never around so approving a purchase without my consent is not possible. PLEASE ADD FACE ID SUPPORT TO FAMILY SHARE
 
  • Like
Reactions: tbayrgs and ivyram

Jsameds

Suspended
Apr 22, 2008
3,525
7,987
Well this is what happens when you let kids loose on the app store and they spend thousands, then the family all do a sad face pose for a newspaper and Apple foot the bill.

So yeah, I'm not surprised they've got rid of it. Was costing them a fortune for other people's dumb mistakes.
 

Bswails

macrumors regular
Jul 28, 2016
169
155
Could it be because they could say to their parents “come look at this” and boom paid for?
The notification gets sent to the parents or organizers device..the app won’t install until its been approved. If we’re dealing with kids that are sneaky enough to try something like that then from my stand point they shouldn’t even have the device!
 

bruinsrme

macrumors 604
Oct 26, 2008
6,596
2,350
If I recall correctly there was a time where touch ID wasn't available to complete any purchases, until an update.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PimpDaddy

Bswails

macrumors regular
Jul 28, 2016
169
155
Truly a first world problem. They make you provide a password (until an update for this feature). Oh, how will those poor iPhone X owners ever get by!?!

I agree with your statement..however as a X owner I know I didn’t have to spend 1k but I did and any way I can find more value for my investment I’m all in! So yeah it would have been nice to have this as a feature from day one..but like you I’m sure it’s coming in a update
 

Ries

macrumors 68020
Apr 21, 2007
2,198
2,592
As I thought from the beginning. It's not that the technology behind Face ID is flawed in any way. I'm sure Apple has perfected it as Apple does every time. But there will be more and more cases that will show that the inclusion of Face ID in everyday use cases of the iPhone was not well-thought through.
Just as perfected as Music, Maps and Healthkit was? And messages in the cloud is right now, where?...
 

Porco

macrumors 68040
Mar 28, 2005
3,112
5,947
Could it be because they could say to their parents “come look at this” and boom paid for?
That’s what I wondered too (not having used this feature). If the point of FaceID is it reduces the ‘friction’ of having to actually touch something to authenticate, then in situations where it’s actually an advantage to need that extra step issues like this one will come up.

It does sound like Apple did it on purpose but haven’t explained why, yet. But these days, who knows?!
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.