Apple’s Face ID may have lost a lot of its luster in our pandemic-stricken world, but the biometric security feature may soon find a new home on Mac computers.
The beta for macOS Big Sur, Apple’s next major update for its proprietary PC operating system, apparently features references in the code to TrueDepth. This is the camera system that allows Face ID to function on iOS devices.
A new report from 9to5Mac points to a number of references in the beta’s code that suggest Face ID is incoming. These include “PearlCamera,” Apple’s internal codename for the feature; as well as “FaceDetect” and “BioCapture,” which the report notes are similar to Face ID codes used in iOS.
As is always the case with any kind of new feature discovery that hinges on bits of datamined code, nothing is confirmed until Apple announces it.
Face ID in particular isn’t something that would just appear on your Mac PC via a software update. The feature depends on specialized hardware that would have to be built into any computer meant to support Face ID. The TrueDepth camera, for one, but also Apple’s latest-generation line of processing chip, which isn’t built into any currently available Mac.
This could also at least partially explain Apple’s looming move to replace its Intel-based PC line with its own silicon in future Macs.
Currently, the MacBooks Air and Pro are Apple’s only personal computers that offer biometric security features – and it’s TouchID only. As 9to5Mac points out, bringing Face ID to computers makes even more sense than TouchID because the latter requires special hardware considerations for the keyboard, and not all Apple computers have that built in (i.e. the iMac).
Answers could be coming soon, at least. The Big Sur update to macOS is expected to arrive later in 2020, as are Apple’s first post-Intel PCs.