Prominent Apple blogger John Gruber says that “white glove folks who clean every demo unit” botched Craig Federighi’s onstage demo of Face ID during Tuesday’s iPhone X keynote.

In yesterday’s post, Gruber speculated that Apple employees who clean every demo unit to perfection after the final rehearsal may have inadvertently disabled Face ID after Federighi’s iPhone X unit went through five unsuccessful face scans.

In an update to the article, Gruber wrote:

I’ve just confirmed this with an Apple engineer familiar with the situation. It’s not just spin from Apple PR.

Gruber is well connected and his sources range from official spokespeople to “little birdies” so I have no reason to dispute his report or question his sources.

Apple itself explained in a statement yesterday that people who were handling Federighi’s device didn’t realize Face ID was trying to authenticate their face. That didn’t stop New York Post from running a story with a headline “Apple is in denial over botched iPhone X demo” even though the write-up came with Apple’s statement.

OVERVIEW: How Face ID works

“That also means that anyone repeatedly glancing at your iPhone X in the future will similarly stop Face ID from working unless the password is entered,” reads the Post article. “So when you encounter the error, it’ll probably mean that one of your family members or co-workers may have been trying to read your notifications while you were not paying attention to the phone.”

Here’s that statement from Apple again:

People were handling the device for stage demo ahead of time and didn’t realize Face ID was trying to authenticate their face. After failing a number of times, because they weren’t Craig, the iPhone did what it was designed to do, which was to require his passcode.

In other words, Face ID worked precisely as it was designed to.

According to Apple’s developer documentation, both Touch ID and Face ID authentication are disabled after five unsuccessful attempts, at which point the user is required to enter their device passcode in order to be reenabled.

The Face ID authentication dialog contains a Cancel button, as well as a passcode fallback button which is initially hidden and shows up after first unsuccessful attempts.


  • I would have laughed if both phones had been locked.

    • Anonymouse

      Re: comments I’ve read post launch your included I can’t help but get that term ‘clunky design’ out my head. 🙂

  • Stephen Hedger

    So only 1 phone was mucky?

    What a load of rubbish.

    Who did they get to clean the phones? Mrs mopp after she’s been breaking the back of a nutty nessie in the bogs?

    Anyone who works for Apple or has any intelligence would know about face Id

    I’m pretty sure mr Apple man would have tested the phones working before he was due on stage unless he’s a complete amateur.

    I thought you swipe up to unlock the phone after it has scanned your face?

    So if not that means the camera is constantly scanning for a face??

    Like that’s not going to wear down the battery.

    More likely just like the iris scanner on the s8, it’s not perfect and it just failed.

    Apple can’t admit that

    • burge

      It’s not constantly scanning at all. Rase to wake then it scans to unlock you can then push up on the screen to access the home screen.

      Did you even read what it said on the screen about having to input the passcode !

      And it would be very easy for someone to trigger this and lock out the device so a password is needed to access it.

    • askep3

      Dude research before you comment damn

      • Mark S

        Research? People can’t even read beyond the headline. It makes their BRANE hurt too much.

      • Brane…

      • Galaxy Life


  • DD™

    It worked as it was designed. People need to let it go. The reporters that were there covering the event had hands on with the devices and the phones worked correctly. Seems like we heard all this before with Touch ID.

    • ravinigga

      I know but there is also some people(haters like some androids fanboys) keep doing dis that iPhone x is old tech yea wireless charging and fast charge. But keep posting u get a phone for less with more features etc.
      That’s every year

      • Galaxy Life

        Fandroids wasn’t the one reporting this.

        The reason we point out that everything in iPhones is old is because some of you try to dismiss everything as a gimmick and then 180° on it as soon as the iPhone gets it–i think that’s the definition of a hater.

        Just read the comments on this site about wireless charging and AMOLED, and then look at them now.

        Whatever features the S9 gets you’ll bash that too until it shows up on the iPhone 12 or 13.

        By the way, answer me this.

        If it was Samsung instead of Apple would you say it was a failure or no?

      • Papagiannakos Dimitrios

        And this is because Apple makes it right ….and working !!!

  • nonchalont

    Please everyone! Do NOT believe what Apple is saying. Apple had 2 phones on stage + Kevin Gates has a song where he mentions 2 phones + the Apple event was held on 9/12/2017 the day after 9/11 = 666 …Illuminati confirmed!! Apple is trying to collect everyone’s face data to give to the CIA. RUN FOR THE HILLS!!!!!!

    • TechnoBuff

      Never been a conspiracy theorist but i believe anything of that nature is possible.
      There is a question no one has been able to answer even though Apple has consistently stated that TouchID data is securely saved on the phone and never on Apple servers.
      Keeping in mind that Apple designed the chip and the secure enclave. it is also possible that Apple can communicate with any phone remotely if they so chose to extract any information. Reading the fine print states so many rights that OEM has to your phone even though you paid for it.
      In as much as i am not supporting your story. i strongly believe that anything is possible.

  • Blacklight: Retribution

    New York Post writers are clearly Fandroids.

  • Benedict

    …then bad design of FaceID. Would have been better if it would have been a malfunction…

  • Jack Love

    Research? People can’t even read beyond the headline. It makes their BRANE hurt too much.