Unlocking your smartphone with facial recognition is easy and fast, but is it actually secure? The Consumers’ Association took the test and tested the facial recognition of sixty smartphones. As it turned out, the facial recognition of over 40 percent of the phones tested is easy to fool.
Smartphones prove easy to fool. By simply holding a paper portrait photo of the owner in front of the selfie lens, some cell phones already unlock. In 26 of 60 phones, unlocking via facial recognition is not foolproof.
Especially cheaper cell phones fail
Especially the cheaper and mid-priced smartphones fell through, but some more expensive phones were also found to have problems with the facial recognition function. For example, the lock of the Xiaomi 12T Pro ($620), 13 ($750) and 13 Pro ($1,300), as well as the Nokia X30 5G ($510) were found to be not waterproof.
The Consumers’ Association does stress that smartphones that did not pass the test warn users in advance that facial recognition is not the best way to secure them. iPhones and 11 of the 12 Samsung devices tested did secure them well with facial recognition, the study found.
Facial recognition has been failing for some time
This is not the first time that the facial recognition function of many smartphones has been found to be unsafe. Four years ago, the Consumers Union also identified this problem. Back then, a similar percentage of smartphones were easy to crack with a photo. “It is disappointing that the reliability of facial recognition has not improved in all these years. The failing phones do give users a warning that facial recognition is not the safest form of security. But as far as we are concerned, weak facial recognition should not be offered at all, even with a warning,” said Sandra Molenaar, director of the Consumers’ Association.
Is your smartphone easy to fool? Then it sometimes works to set facial recognition more strictly, according to the consumer advocate. You can also opt for another security method, such as a PIN or fingerprint.
List of smartphones where facial recognition fails
These 26 smartphones you can fool with a photo:
HONOR 70 5G (380 euro)
Motorola moto e13 (120 euros)
Motorola moto g13 (180 euro)
Motorola moto g23 (230 euro)
Motorola Moto g72 (128 + 8 GB) (265 Euros)
Nokia G22 (195 Euros)
Nokia G60 5G (128 + 4 GB) (300 euros)
Nokia X30 5G (128 + 6 GB) (440 euros)
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite (300 Euros)
OPPO A17 (180 Euros)
OPPO A57 (150 Euros)
Samsung Galaxy A04s (150 Euros)
Xiaomi 12 Lite (128 + 8 GB) (355 v)
Xiaomi 12T (128GB) (500 euros)
Xiaomi 12T Pro (256 + 8 GB) (620 euros)
Xiaomi 13 (750 euros)
Xiaomi 13 Lite (128 GB) (400 euros)
Xiaomi 13 Pro (1300 euro)
Xiaomi POCO M5 (64GB) (190 euros)
Xiaomi POCO M5s (64GB) (210 euros)
Xiaomi POCO X5 5G (128 + 6 GB) (265 euros)
Xiaomi POCO X5 Pro 5G (128 + 6 GB) (330 euros)
Xiaomi Redmi 12C (32 + 3 GB) – Blue (120 euros)
Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 (128 GB) (230 euros)
Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 5G (230 euros)
Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro 5G (128 + 8 GB) (325 euros)