Police Told to Avoid Looking at iPhone Screens Locked With Face ID

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Apr 12, 2001
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Police in the United States are being advised not to look at iPhone screens secured with Face ID, because doing so could disable facial authentication and leave investigators needing a potentially harder-to-obtain passcode to gain access.

Face ID on iPhone X and iPhone XS attempts to authenticate a face up to five times before the feature is disabled and the user's passcode is required to unlock the smartphone.

Elcomsoft presentation slide talking about Face ID (image via Motherboard)

Given the way the security system works, Motherboard reports that forensics company Elcomsoft is advising law enforcement, "don't look at the sceen, or else... the same thing will occur as happened [at] Apple's event."

The note appears on a slide belonging to an Elcomsoft presentation on iOS forensics, and refers to Apple's 2017 presentation of Face ID, in which Apple VP Craig Federighi tried and failed to unlock an iPhone X with his own face, before the device asked for a passcode instead.

Apple later explained that the iPhone locked after several people backstage interacted with it ahead of Federighi, causing it to require a passcode to unlock.

The advice follows a recent report of the first known case of law enforcement forcing a suspect to unlock an iPhone using Face ID. The action subsequently helped police uncover evidence that was later used to charge the suspect with receiving and possessing child pornography.

In the United States, forcing someone to give up a password is interpreted as self-incrimination, which is protected by the Fifth Amendment, but courts have ruled that there's a difference between a biometric recognition system like Touch ID and a passcode that you type into your phone.

In some cases, police have gained access to digital data by forcing people to unlock mobile devices using their fingers. Indeed, before Face ID was in use, law enforcement was advised how it could avoid locking Touch ID fingerprint-based authentication on Apple's iPhones. [*]How to Quickly Disable Touch ID and Face ID on an iPhone"With Touch ID, you have to press the button (or at least touch it)," Vladimir Katalov, CEO of Elcomsoft, told Motherboard. "That's why we always recommend (on our trainings) to use the power button instead, e.g to see whether the phone is locked. But with Face ID, it is easier to use 'accidentally' by simply looking at the phone."

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: Police Told to Avoid Looking at iPhone Screens Locked With Face ID
 
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melliflu

macrumors newbie
Mar 15, 2010
21
70
I disabled all security check on my Iphone. With no passwords, no Face ID, I'm saving so many seconds and if I forget my phone somewhere it can be easily returned to me.
My private data is not worse than average and I have nothing to hide.
With my "unsecured" Iphone 6s, I have a faster reaction time than any 2018 Iphone with Face ID on.
 

musicpenguy

macrumors 68000
Oct 29, 2006
1,596
567
I disabled all security check on my Iphone. With no passwords, no Face ID, I'm saving so many seconds and if I forget my phone somewhere it can be easily returned to me.
My private data is not worse than average and I have nothing to hide.
With my "unsecured" Iphone 6s, I have a faster reaction time than any 2018 Iphone with Face ID on.
The only reason my mom has her phone returned to her was because she had it locked and used Find My iPhone - the young kid who stole it quickly realized with it locked that he couldn’t resell it - with a completely open device it is easily resold and I can’t imagine you’d ever get it back.
 

Velok

macrumors newbie
Oct 14, 2018
0
62
I disabled all security check on my Iphone. With no passwords, no Face ID, I'm saving so many seconds and if I forget my phone somewhere it can be easily returned to me.
My private data is not worse than average and I have nothing to hide.
With my "unsecured" Iphone 6s, I have a faster reaction time than any 2018 Iphone with Face ID on.
So, if a scammer finds you phone, he can easily misuse your phone in his scamming attempts. Much easier to social engineer someone at at your bank etc when they can call from your number. Plus full access to emails+++

That you don’t have anything to hide might be the least important factor when you consider wether to secure your phone or not.

Enjoy the milliseconds you save compared to faceID; you will need them all (and more) when you’re cleaning up after a scammer that got to your phone.
 

iapplelove

Suspended
Nov 22, 2011
4,932
6,830
East Coast USA
Face ID has only been out a year, less than a year actually.

How often does this really come up? I mean are there that many situations where “bad people” using expensive new iPhones are trying to lock law enforcement out?
 
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gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
16,960
3,863
Sounds like having a password is safer than having Face ID activated
You need a passcode to enable either TouchID or FaceID. Your passcode can be four or six or any number of digits, or any combinations of digits and letters so you can make it as fast as you like. But a 15 mixed digit and letter password is an absolute pain even though it is very, very safe. That's where TouchID or FaceID help: They vastly reduce how often you need to enter the passcode or password, so you can have a safer password with much less inconvenience.
 

now i see it

macrumors 603
Jan 2, 2002
5,209
10,543
Apple has essentially borked biometric authentication by implementing FaceID. Clearly it's pretty much worthless as a trustworthy security feature. So now it's back to entering 7 digit passcodes every damn time. Little did we ever suspect that the constant whining to minimize the bezels would lead to this.
The iPhone is de-evolving.
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,537
25,262
I disabled all security check on my Iphone. With no passwords, no Face ID, I'm saving so many seconds and if I forget my phone somewhere it can be easily returned to me.
My private data is not worse than average and I have nothing to hide.
With my "unsecured" Iphone 6s, I have a faster reaction time than any 2018 Iphone with Face ID on.
That’s so ridiculous, I don’t even know where to begin.
 

dmylrea

macrumors 68030
Sep 27, 2005
2,905
3,602
Apple has essentially borked biometric authentication by implementing FaceID. Clearly it's pretty much worthless as a trustworthy security feature. So now it's back to entering 7 digit passcodes every damn time. Little did we ever suspect that the constant whining to minimize the bezels would lead to this.
The iPhone is de-evolving.
FaceID isn't trustworthy for who? Criminals?
 

TrulsZK

macrumors regular
May 1, 2018
114
159
Norway
The only reason my mom has her phone returned to her was because she had it locked and used Find My iPhone - the young kid who stole it quickly realized with it locked that he couldn’t resell it - with a completely open device it is easily resold and I can’t imagine you’d ever get it back.
If Find my iPhone is activated you can still not reset the iPhone (even if it is not locked with a passcode / FaceID/TouchID) as the iPhone is still associated with that Apple ID.
Of corse you can do everything with the iPhone you want, other then sign out of iCloud or reset it, obviously resetting the iPhone using a computer will give the same result as if the iPhone had been locker prior to resetting it.
That said I never recommend having an iPhone without a strong passcode
 

Cyberpower678

macrumors 6502
Apr 28, 2015
417
351
Everywhere
I disabled all security check on my Iphone. With no passwords, no Face ID, I'm saving so many seconds and if I forget my phone somewhere it can be easily returned to me.
My private data is not worse than average and I have nothing to hide.
With my "unsecured" Iphone 6s, I have a faster reaction time than any 2018 Iphone with Face ID on.
Good luck with that. Someone finds that phone unlocked, they just pocketed themselves an iPhone they can wipe and claim as their own or resell.
[doublepost=1539525524][/doublepost]
Assuming you have time to do that. Try reaching your hand into your pocket when a cop says “stop” or “freeze”
Do it as they approach before they say freeze. But if you suspect you're about to be busted by a cop, disable FaceID entirely.
[doublepost=1539526098][/doublepost]
If Find my iPhone is activated you can still not reset the iPhone (even if it is not locked with a passcode / FaceID/TouchID) as the iPhone is still associated with that Apple ID.
Of corse you can do everything with the iPhone you want, other then sign out of iCloud or reset it, obviously resetting the iPhone using a computer will give the same result as if the iPhone had been locker prior to resetting it.
That said I never recommend having an iPhone without a strong passcode
Not necessarily. Assume iCloud email is registered on the mail app, or password to their email is saved in iCloud's keychain. Go to Apple.com->iForgot->type in email. Password reset gets sent to email, and thief can now alter the password of the account. Now Find My iPhone can be disabled and the phone can be wiped without a security block when re-activating the phone. Phone is now forever lost to the original owner, all because it was not secure, as well as email account compromised, apple account compromised, and whatever else accounts are saved on that phone.
 

sinsin07

macrumors 68040
Mar 28, 2009
3,504
2,417
Would be nice to have an anti-law enforcement feature that makes it as easy as possible to completely lock out any law enforcement official.
While you're waiting for Apple to make an official method, some clever person/people came up with this Shortcut:
https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/2d68cb1ee7b84f08ace2fd600b9855b5
Based on what MacRumors member rjtyork posted it does the following:
"Just by saying “Hey Siri, I’m getting pulled over”, Siri will pause your music, turn on do not disturb, send your location and a message to pre-determined contacts, dim your screen, start recording video from your front camera, upload that video to iCloud Drive or google drive, and send the video to any contacts you choose."
 
Last edited:

ke-iron

macrumors 65816
Aug 14, 2014
1,349
797
Criminal or not, it's always a good idea to disable Face/Touch ID at border crossings, TSA, & police stoppings, which can be done very quickly by pressing the power button 5 times really fast.
Only thing is this doesn’t work on the new iPhones, not sure if it’s a bug or Apple changed it. At least it doesn’t work on my iPhone XS Max.
 

predation

macrumors 65816
Apr 3, 2013
1,198
826
Face ID has only been out a year, less than a year actually.

How often does this really come up? I mean are there that many situations where “bad people” using expensive new iPhones are trying to lock law enforcement out?
Bad people tend to buy expensive things
 
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