LG V40 Notch Face Unlock

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.

Most of these phones were budget devices, but we also have a few flagships affected by shoddy face unlock. These devices include the HTC U11 Plus, the Huawei P20 Pro, and Sony’s Xperia XZ2 series.

The Sony logo at MWC 2018.
Sony's new camera tech supposedly better than Face ID, coming later in 2019

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 lockedUnlocked with photoUnlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting
Remains locked:
Alcatel 3
Unlocked with photo:
Alcatel 1X
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:
Honor 7A
Remains locked:
Alcatel 5
Unlocked with photo:
Asus Zenfone 5 Lite
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:
LG G7 ThinQ
Remains locked:
Apple iPhone XR
Unlocked with photo:
Asus Zenfone 5, ZE620KL
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:
LG V35 ThinQ
Remains locked:
Apple iPhone XS
Unlocked with photo:
BlackBerry Key2
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:
LG V40 ThinQ
Remains locked:
Apple iPhone XS Max
Unlocked with photo:
BQ Aquaris X2
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Asus Zenfone Max Plus
Unlocked with photo:
BQ Aquaris X2 Pro
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Honor 10
Unlocked with photo:
General Mobile GM8
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Honor 7C
Unlocked with photo:
HTC U11 Plus
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Honor 8X
Unlocked with photo:
Huawei P20
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Honor View 10
Unlocked with photo:
Huawei P20 Lite
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
HTC U12 Plus
Unlocked with photo:
Huawei P20 Pro
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Huawei P Smart Plus
Unlocked with photo:
Motorola Moto E5
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Huawei Y6 2018
Unlocked with photo:
Motorola Moto E5 Plus
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Huawei Y7 2018
Unlocked with photo:
Motorola Moto G6 Play
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Huawei Mate 20
Unlocked with photo:
LG K9 (LM-X210EMW)
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Huawei Mate 20 Lite
Unlocked with photo:
LG Q6 Alpha (LG-M700n)
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Unlocked with photo:
Motorola Moto G6 Play
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Motorola Moto G6
Unlocked with photo:
Motorola One
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Motorola Moto G6 Plus
Unlocked with photo:
Nokia 3.1
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Motorola Moto Z3
Unlocked with photo:
Nokia 7.1
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Unlocked with photo:
Oukitel VU
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
OnePlus 5T
Unlocked with photo:
Samsung Galaxy A7 2018
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
OnePlus 6
Unlocked with photo:
Samsung Galaxy A8 (SM-A530F/DS)
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Oppo Find X
Unlocked with photo:
Samsung Galaxy A8 Plus (SM-A730F)
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Samsung Galaxy A6
Unlocked with photo:
Samsung Galaxy J8
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus
Unlocked with photo:
Sony Xperia L2 (H3311 and H3321)
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Samsung Galaxy A9
Unlocked with photo:
Sony Xperia XZ2 (H8216 and H8266)
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Samsung Galaxy J6
Unlocked with photo:
Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact (H8314 and H8324)
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Unlocked with photo:
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Samsung Galaxy S9
Unlocked with photo:
Sony Xperia XZ3
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
Unlocked with photo:
Vodafone Smart N9
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

Remains locked:
Wiko View 2
Unlocked with photo:
Xiaomi Mi A2
Unlocked with photo, but has "stricter" setting:

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!

NEXT: Samsung Bixby to support Google apps, first 5G phone coming in H1 2019