Face Recognition Technology: How Does It Work?

Many of us in the twenty-first century rely on face recognition technology. And this is unsurprising; all we need to do is glance at the cellphones in our pockets for proof.

However, have you ever considered how face recognition technology actually works? What steps are taken to ensure that you are appropriately identified and that your identity is not stolen?

Face Recognition Technology

Continue reading to learn how to face recognition works, as well as some real-world instances of the technology in action and why some systems do better than others.

What Technology Is Used for Face ID Unlocking?

Face unlocking technology, at its most basic level, works by recognizing your face. This is not, however, as straightforward as snapping a picture of yourself and using it every time you glance at the sensor.

Facial unlocking utilizes a variety of different technologies to collect data about your face, including infrared, which, after scanning, takes an infrared snapshot of your face. Other variables come into play as well. These include your distance from the camera and the distances between specific characteristics on your face, such as the distance between your ears.

As indicated in this list of the top facia recognition misconceptions, facial recognition does not cease to recognize you as you age.

3 Examples of Face Unlocking Technology in Practice

Given how advanced face recognition technology has become, it’s likely that you’ve previously used it.

Three samples of face recognition technology in action are included below.


From a consumer standpoint, the most well-known example of face recognition in action is undoubted with current smartphones. Apple has been particularly proactive in integrating this, allowing users to recognition their smartphones with this technology starting with the iPhone X.

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However, iPhone users are not the only ones who can unlock their phones by pointing them at their faces. Samsung and Huawei both offer face recognition technology on a limited number of their handsets.

Passport Control

If you’ve gone by plane on a regular basis in the twenty-first century, you’re well aware of how strict airport security is. Regrettably, you’ll also be all too familiar with how infuriating it can be to wait in passport lineups.

Airports have attempted to expedite border control by installing facial recognition gates. Typically, you’ll place the profile page of your passport face down on a scanner while looking into a camera at these.

Generally, the gate will open if your photo matches that on your passport. Occasionally, however, you may need to attempt several times—or contact a border guard.

Facial recognition is used in border control at airports throughout the EU, as well as in the United Kingdom and the United States, among other countries.

Payment Services

Payments technology is always improving, and it’s difficult to realize that cash was once the only medium of trade. And, like with smartphone recognition, facial recognition has made its way into this area as well—for both online and offline purchases.

Naturally, you can use facial recognition on your iPhone to make Apple Pay purchases. However, in other instances, you may not even require a smartphone.

Users in China can pay for a variety of things simply by glancing at a screen. While some may claim that this is indicative of an authoritarian state, other countries have experimented with similar measures.

In the United States, this BBC News item reports on a restaurant in Los Angeles that experimented using facial recognition payments. Meanwhile, Nets ran a test program in Denmark in which 1,000 employees in Copenhagen could purchase food at their employer’s canteen.

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Why Does Certain Face Recognition Technology Perform Better Than Others?

Despite the fact that face recognition technology has become more prevalent, it has not been without criticism. One prominent issue is that technology does not reliably identify persons of color as well as individuals who do not fall into this group. as highlighted in a Washington Post investigation in 2019.

That is not, however, the only issue with facial recognition. For instance, numerous customers have expressed dissatisfaction with the technology’s speed when using their smartphones. Additionally, the technology frequently has problems differentiating twins.

Therefore, why do certain face recognition technologies perform better than others? Consider the following.

Capacity to Work in Adverse Conditions

When people utilize facial recognition in real life, the sky is not always clear. Apart from the fact that daytime weather circumstances are not always good. Users will frequently be required to employ face recognition technology in the dark.

Certain facial recognition systems do less effectively than others simply because they lack the capability to perform in a variety of scenarios. This could be due to a variety of reasons, including the technologies employed to recognize faces.

The Application of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Another reason why certain face recognition technologies perform poorly than others is that they incorporate artificial intelligence (AI). To function optimally, the technology requires input. Each time it obtains this, it improves gradually.

Accuracy is more difficult to attain in the early phases of facial recognition technology.

Another reason machine learning can contribute to the quality of facial recognition is the lack of a universal software system. Certain suppliers may use higher-quality solutions than others, resulting in more accurate facial recognition.

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For years, facial recognition has been used to identify individuals in crowds, follow criminals, and much more. However, the common customer may now use this technology to recognition smartphones, pass through border checks, and pay for merchandise, among other things.

Despite breakthroughs, face recognition technology has a long way to go before achieving 100 percent accuracy. As a result, those who implement this must conduct extensive testing ahead and select the finest solutions possible.