Apple has officially debunked this year’s popular rumor that Face ID was its plan B should its engineers fail to integrate Touch ID underneath the phone’s cover glass.

In an interview with TechCrunch editor-in-chief Matthew Panzarino, Apple’s hardware engineering chief Dan Riccio said Apple “spent no time” creating a rear Touch ID sensor or one integrated into the screen itself because it decided to go all in with the Face ID system.

“Arguably the toughest challenge that we had is to replace Touch ID,” Riccio said. “If we were going to replace it we wanted to replace it with something that was at the end of the day both better and more natural.”

The narrative that Apple was still trying to use Touch ID in iPhone X prototypes this year is wrong, Riccio said, adding there were no late design changes to the phone:

I heard some rumor that we couldn’t get Touch ID to work through the glass so we had to remove that. When we hit early line of sight on getting Face ID to be as good as it was, we knew that if we could be successful we could enable the product that we wanted to go off and do and if that’s true it could be something that we could burn the bridges and be all in with. This is assuming it was a better solution.

And that’s what we did. So we spent no time looking at fingerprints on the back or through the glass or on the side because if we did those things, which would be a last-minute change, they would be a distraction relative to enabling the more important thing that we were trying to achieve, which was Face ID done in a high-quality way.

Early iPhone X impressions and previews that hit the web ahead of the phone’s scheduled launch this Friday praise Face ID as (mostly) working as advertised.

Panzarino noted in his own review that Face ID “works great in the dark,” but becomes “a little inconsistent” when used outside in bright sunlight that contains a lot of infrared light or “under crappy florescent lights” which interfere with the infrared system.

  • AOGV

    If this is true, I have to believe Apple intentionally wanted its competitors to think they were integrating Touch ID into the screen to throw them off. But who the hell knows.

    • Wilber Alexander Flores

      Watch companies do that so Apple can see how they did it and then perfect it lol

  • AMB_07

    Of course Apple will say that Face ID wasn’t a Plan B. I mean what would you expect?

    • TechnoBuff

      Exactly.. who says their key feature was a PLAN B!

      • Matta Fakt

        Having even so much as a rudimentary understanding of the different types of technology that went into making FaceID possible would clarify that you simply can’t implement something with such a precise level of engineering and intuitiveness “last minute”. There’s no question that it was being worked on for quite some time. The fact that it’s 20 times more secure than TouchID is also a testament to the notion of them wanting to improve upon what they already had

    • Jamessmooth

      Yeah I could really picture Apple saying something like, “actually, yes. Face ID was our plan B. When we couldn’t get the fingerprint sensor to work under the glass, we tried to get it to work from the back, but that proved too difficult to use, so we went with Face ID instead. We wanted to wait another year to iron out the kinks, but it’s still better than Touch ID.”

      • Jay

        I don’t see them saying that because its like admitting defeat. I highly doubt they will admit that not even one of there prototypes had an in-screen TouchID sensor at all. heck I even picture them having a prototype with a notch at the top and the bottom to incorporate both features…

      • Gustavo Bezerra

        Someone doesn’t get sarcasm…

      • Jay

        Oh I got it..

  • chjode

    And in two years the iPhone 11 (iPhone X1 ?) will come with FaceID and TouchID beneath the screen…

    • No it won’t, TouchID, as sad as it may be, is dead, they’ll never use it again. Unless they do another SE-type device

      • therealjjohnson

        Unless they do it to allow two factor authentication. Or to allow another person access to the device. Nothing is a strong No. Just no, for now.

      • Jay

        It’s not dead yet, we still have it on The MacBook iPad and older iPhones that aren’t getting discontinued any time soon. I think the one face limit will go away soon allowing them to put it on family products like iPads and The Mac line.