We’ve seen a resurgence in face unlock across the mobile industry, arguably due to Apple’s iPhone X touting the technology. Unfortunately, a new study shows that plenty of phones can be defeated with a simple photo.
The Dutch Consumentenbond organization found that out of 110 devices tested, 42 could be unlocked with a high quality photo of the owner (h/t: The Register). To be fair, the organization counted regional and dual-SIM variants as separate models in its testing, so the real number of dodgy devices is actually in the 30s.
Nevertheless, this still represents a massive number of devices that are vulnerable to a simple photo. The list wasn’t restricted to a few manufacturers either, as the likes of Alcatel, BlackBerry, Huawei, Lenovo, Nokia, Sony, and Xiaomi were all featured here.
There were plenty of devices that passed the test, however, including the Alcatel 3V, Honor 10, HTC U12 Plus, Huawei Mate 20 series, the OnePlus 5T, OnePlus 6, and Samsung’s 2018 flagships. Additionally, all 2018 iPhone models passed the test. Oddly enough, the consumer watchdog also counted different storage variants as separate entries. Weird.
Anyway, the organization found that several unlocked devices had more stringent face unlock settings to defeat photos, such as LG’s 2018 flagships and the Honor 7A. You can check out the full list below.
|Remains locked||Unlocked with photo||Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting|
|Alcatel 3||Alcatel 1X||Honor 7A|
|Alcatel 5||Asus Zenfone 5 Lite||LG G7 ThinQ|
|Apple iPhone XR||Asus Zenfone 5, ZE620KL||LG V35 ThinQ|
|Apple iPhone XS||BlackBerry Key2||LG V40 ThinQ|
|Apple iPhone XS Max||BQ Aquaris X2|
|Asus Zenfone Max Plus||BQ Aquaris X2 Pro|
|Honor 10||General Mobile GM8|
|Honor 7C||HTC U11 Plus|
|Honor 8X||Huawei P20|
|Honor View 10||Huawei P20 Lite|
|HTC U12 Plus||Huawei P20 Pro|
|Huawei P Smart Plus||Motorola Moto E5|
|Huawei Y6 2018||Motorola Moto E5 Plus|
|Huawei Y7 2018||Motorola Moto G6 Play|
|Huawei Mate 20||LG K9 (LM-X210EMW)|
|Huawei Mate 20 Lite||LG Q6 Alpha (LG-M700n)|
|Huawei Mate 20 Pro||Motorola Moto G6 Play|
|Motorola Moto G6||Motorola One|
|Motorola Moto G6 Plus||Nokia 3.1|
|Motorola Moto Z3||Nokia 7.1|
|Motorola Moto Z3 Play||Oukitel VU|
|OnePlus 5T||Samsung Galaxy A7 2018|
|OnePlus 6||Samsung Galaxy A8 (SM-A530F/DS)|
|Oppo Find X||Samsung Galaxy A8 Plus (SM-A730F)|
|Samsung Galaxy A6||Samsung Galaxy J8|
|Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus||Sony Xperia L2 (H3311 and H3321)|
|Samsung Galaxy A9||Sony Xperia XZ2 (H8216 and H8266)|
|Samsung Galaxy J6||Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact (H8314 and H8324)|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 9||Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium|
|Samsung Galaxy S9||Sony Xperia XZ3|
|Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus||Vodafone Smart N9|
|Wiko View 2||Xiaomi Mi A2|
If anything, we hope this study shames brands into paying more attention to facial recognition. Do you use face unlock on your smartphone? Let us know in the comments!