Is it Possible that Someone else can Unlock Your Phone using a Photo of You?

Do you usually unlock your cell phone with your face? With a few exceptions, facial recognition is not as secure as many believe.

Smartphone Face Recognition

All modern smartphones, whether Android or iPhone, have different security mechanisms that prevent strangers from unlocking it. Although the fingerprint reader is the safest way to protect your phone, many people prefer to use facial recognition. How reliable is it? Here we tell you.

The facial recognition of smartphones, except for some brands, is not as secure as you think, since those phones can not scan faces in 3D. This could cause someone else to unlock your phone using a photograph of you under certain circumstances.

According to reports, Dutch organization called Consumentenbond conducted a weird experiment in 2019. The test consisted of trying to unlock 110 smartphones using a photo (printed in high quality) of the face of their owners.

According to the publication, the cell phones under test belonged to Lenovo, Nokia, Huawei, Alcatel, Samsung, Apple, among other famous brands. To the surprise of thousands, 42 of the 110 smartphones could be unlocked with a high-resolution photograph of their owner.

Among the phones that passed the test were some from the Samsung Galaxy family, as well as Apple’s iPhones. This happened because the Face ID of the ‘Apple’ is more secure because it joins the True depth camera and creates a three-dimensional model of your face. In this way, it is impossible for a photo to manage to fool you.

Technology companies know that the facial recognition of their devices can be compromised by a photo, so, before activating it, some of them can warn users. They even claim that using a security PIN, a pattern or your fingerprint is much safer.


It is worth noting that this problem with facial recognition does not mean that they will unlock your cell phone with any photo of you. It will depend on many factors, among which are the lighting, the resolution of the photograph, the make and model of the phone, among others.

What’s your choice of unlocking your phone? Do you use fingerprint, pin, pattern or facial recognition? Let us know your take on this in the comments section.



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