Galaxy Nexus Face Unlock Works with Real Face AND Photo

by: JoseNovember 14, 2011
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Those of you who are thinking that the Face Unlock feature in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich–and first featured in the Galaxy Nexus–is a security feature may be in for some disappointment.  Someone was able to show a photo to the Galaxy Nexus and the device instantly unlocked itself without complaining.

Blogger Soya Cincau captured live footage of the “test” that was done that showed the Galaxy Nexus unlocking itself when shown a photo of the face programmed for the device’s Face Unlock feature.

The “test” was conducted during the launching of the Samsung Galaxy Note in Jakarta, Indonesia. The guy on the video is carrying a Galaxy Note and a Galaxy Nexus. Face Unlock on the Galaxy Nexus was configured to recognize his face and he took his own picture using the Galaxy Note.

When the photo on the Galaxy Note was shown to the Galaxy Nexus for facial recognition, the Galaxy Nexus recognized the face.

The video is gaining popularity on YouTube right now and along with this fame come questions about authenticity. Some readers are trying to dispute the credibility of the video. Given the limited details captured on the video, having these questions will always be appropriate.  Yet, Cincau insists that the devices were not preprogrammed or rigged in any way.  It’s the real deal.

The makers of the video have been trying their best to assure the authenticity of what they discovered.  They even mentioned some names that can vouch for the “flaw” that they have discovered.

It seems that the Face Unlock feature in Ice Cream Sandwich is not yet ready to be a security feature.  In fact, the About screen of the app informs users that Face Unlock is “less secure than a pattern, PIN, or password,” and that Face Unlock may work for someone who looks similar to the device’s real owner.  Truth be told, this Face Unlock feature is not yet perfect. We’ve read news about this feature not working properly, especially in dimly lit areas.

Do you think Face Unlock will cause major problems in the future?

  • Bite

    This just means that if you configure your phone to unlock with a face photo, it will unlock with a photo. If you configure it to unlock with your actual face, it should only unlock with your actual face.

    • Anonymous

      No.. this means that if you configure it to unlock with your face, it will unlock with your face, but it can be tricked by a pic?

      • Alx_s

        if you configure it with your actual face then a photo of you or your actually face will unlock it. I do not know that if you were to configure the system with a photo that your face will unlock it but i would say it is safe to assume that your face should unlock it even if you used a photo to configure it

  • So the question is how android is competing against Siri?

    • rofl

      no. Just no.

  • Anonymous

    i don’t really lock my phone anymore anyway except as a keyguard. it just becomes an annoyance in delaying me to get into it. on all my phones dating back to Windows Mobile days, straight up “slide to unlock” or keyguard has been all i use. Face unlock will be great for me because it will add some security (more than slide to unlock) but still not delay me getting into my phone. i may be in the minority with this though.

  • GalaxyNexusFTW

    Didn’t they update on jellybean now you can add the feature with face unlock called liveness check which means it now requires eye blink