Apple's Face ID has been a popular biometric security feature for the iPhone. But now there's reason to believe it could be a winner on the Mac.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has awarded Apple a patent on a new, more sophisticated Face ID that could make its way to the Mac. According to the patent, which was earlier reported on by 9to5Mac, Apple's Face ID would have two key features in addition to standard biometric features you already get in the iPhone.
First up, the Face ID feature would be constantly evaluating what's in front of the laptop. Even if you don't physically interact with the computer for a period of time, Face ID will see that you're in front of the machine and stop it from going into sleep mode. That can be especially handy when you're reviewing a long document or looking at something on the screen and don't need to touch the keyboard or mouse.
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Secondly, Apple has devised a way for the Mac to know when you're getting close, look for your face, and quickly unlock your machine as you sit down in front of the computer. That could prove especially handy when your computer is in sleep mode and you want to quickly log in and start working. On a current MacBook, you need to wait for the screen to turn on and your accessories to power up before inputting your password.
Apple brought Touch ID to the Mac but hasn't yet brought Face ID even though the company has been offering it in the iPhone since the release of the iPhone X. Judging by the patent, which doesn't reference Macs specifically, but does point to Face ID's usage in a computing device and uses Mac-like drawings, Apple is at least considering a Mac-based Face ID experience.
But like other major technology companies, Apple files for patents all the time. And in some cases, those technologies never find their way to devices. So, while it's possible we'll see a smarter and more sophisticated Face ID in Apple's Macs at some point in the future, it's also possible we won't. For now, take this one with the proverbial grain of salt.