In the future, face recognition can also be used in landscape mode – but only on certain devices.
Whoever owns an iPhone with facial recognition, normally also uses the so-called Face ID function. Until now, this specifies that the smartphone must be held in an upright position (“portrait”). Thanks to iOS 16, which is currently in a beta phase, this should change soon.
Face ID: Significant gain in comfort in iOS 16
As Apple itself states on its preview website, “Landscape Face ID”, i.e. the possibility to use the face recognition also in landscape format, will come in the fall. This is convenient for several reasons. For example, people like to hold the iPhone in landscape mode when playing games, watching videos or working with larger documents – and until now, you always had to turn it around, which could be annoying. Also, Face ID logins for apps or in-app purchases could previously only be performed in portrait mode. Both can now also be done in landscape format.
There is, however, a catch to the new feature. Apple immediately writes that iOS 16 will offer the “Landscape Face ID” function only on “supported devices” (“supported iPhone models”). More details are not mentioned here, though. Developers who are already allowed to test the beta version of iOS 16 report that the support is actually very limited: Only iPhone 13, 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max and 13 mini – the latest iPhone variants from the year 2021 – are supported.
iPhone 12 may not play
Apple had once again made improvements to Face ID (or the built-in True Depth sensor on the front) in these models. However, these should – at least partially – already be in the pre-models of the iPhone 12 series. These already support Face ID unlocking with a face mask. Accordingly, one would have assumed that Landscape Face ID would also work with these models. It remains unclear whether Apple really has technical reasons to exclude this series – or if it does so for marketing reasons. It is also possible that something will happen during the beta phase, since Apple has not mentioned the limitation in the footnotes of its preview so far.
Older iPhone models are not included in “Landscape Face ID” anyway. Apple actually already installs the Face ID sensors or True Depth modules since the iPhone X from 2017. iPhone XS, XR and 11, which were released in 2018 and 2019, respectively, also do not get the new unlock procedure. However, they also do not support Face ID unlocking with a face mask, which is why there should be less disappointment on the user side.