The Best 8 iPhone X Face ID Hidden Features

Some of the lesser-known perks of using Apple Face ID

With Face ID, you can unlock your iPhone X by looking at it. The same tech can be used to authorize secure Apple Pay transactions, but there's still a lot more you can do with Face ID.

These eight Face ID hidden features will make you an iPhone X power user. 

As of the iOS 14.5 update, users can unlock their iPhones using Face ID while wearing a face mask, with the help of an Apple Watch. With the Apple Watch and iPhone near each other, glance at your phone while wearing a face mask. Your Apple Watch will give you haptic feedback to communicate that your iPhone has been unlocked.

Person looking at iPhone.
Apple Inc. 

Automatically Adjust Alarm Volume and Screen Brightness

As Face ID can tell when you're looking at the screen, it can enhance some common iPhone features like using an alarm or adjusting the screen brightness. But first, you need to make sure the Attention Aware Features option is turned on.

  1. From the main menu, select the Settings app.

  2. Select Face ID & Passcode.

  3. Enter your passcode.

  4. Toggle Attention Aware Features to on (green).

This introduces a couple of features:

  • If an alarm goes off and you look at the screen, the volume of the alarm will automatically decrease, as the phone knows it has your attention.
  • The screen will not dim to save battery power when in use. Normally the screen automatically dims after a short period of time, but if the phone sees that you're still using it, it will maintain brightness.

Receive Notification Previews Without Opening Notification Center

Normally, you would need to open Notification Center to see full previews of your notifications. With Face ID secure facial recognition, you can change your notification settings to give you full notification previews without opening Notification Center. Here's how:

  1. From the main menu, select the Settings app.

  2. Select Notifications.

  3. Select Show Previews.

  4. Select When Unlocked. Now when you get a notification on your lock screen, you can simply look at your phone to expand the notification into a full preview. There's no need to swipe up on the screen to unlock it.

Autofill Passwords in Safari

With Face ID, your face is your password, and you can use that password to log into websites in Safari. If you store auto-fill usernames and passwords in Safari, Face ID can secure that data and verify it through facial recognition. Here's how:

For this feature to work you must have your website usernames and passwords saved in Safari.

  1. First, enable Safari Autofill with Face ID. Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode. Toggle the Safari Autofill slider to on (green).

  2. Open Safari and go to a website where you have login info saved.

  3. Select the username or password field. When the keyboard appears, select Passwords.

  4. Select the user account you want to use.

  5. When the Face ID icon appears on the screen, position your iPhone X to scan your face. When Face ID authenticates you, your password is added. You can now log into the website using facial recognition.

Control Which Apps Can Access Face ID

You may not want every app to have access to your Face ID data. (You can control which apps have access to other data as well.) Here's how to adjust the Face ID access settings.

Apple does not share photographic face scans with apps, only coded data converted from the scans. That means there's no risk of an app accessing a detailed image of your face.

  1. From the main menu, select the Settings app.

  2. Select Face ID & Passcode.

  3. Select Other Apps.

  4. You will see a list of all of the apps installed on your iPhone that may request the use of Face ID. To block an app from accessing Face ID, toggle the slider to off (white).

Quickly Disable Face ID

You can quickly disable Face ID at any time. This may be useful in situations where people are attempting to strong-arm you into unlocking your phone and revealing data. Here are two ways to turn off Face ID with simple button commands:

  • Press and hold the Side button and one or both of the volume buttons at the same time. This turns off Face ID and opens up the shut down/emergency calling screen. To unlock the phone, you will need to enter your passcode.
  • Press the Side button 5 times in quick succession. This triggers the Emergency SOS feature, which also emits a loud alarm sound. Select Cancel on the Emergency SOS screen, then select Stop Calling to end the call and the siren. Face ID will also be turned off.

Disable Face ID With Siri

You can also use Siri to turn off Face ID. However, you must have to have Siri help enabled for this to work.

  1. Without unlocking your phone, say, "Hey Siri, whose phone is this?"

  2. Siri will display your account info, including a name, photo, and some contact information. This will also disable Face ID.

  3. To unlock the phone or to turn Face ID on, you must enter your passcode.

Make Face ID Unlock Faster

You can speed up the time it takes for Face ID to recognize you and unlock your iPhone.

This setting speeds up Face ID but it also makes your phone less secure. The Require Attention setting requires you to look at the iPhone with your eyes open to unlock it. Turning it off allows Face ID to unlock the device when you're unconscious or sleeping.

  1. From the main menu, select the Settings app.

  2. Select Face ID & Passcode.

  3. Toggle the Require Attention for Face ID slider to off (white).

Improve Face ID Accuracy

If Face ID doesn't recognize you and the passcode screen appears, enter your passcode immediately. Face ID will take the scan of your face that it did not recognize and add it to the existing map of your face. Adding the new scan to the original improves its recognition abilities and allows for detection at odd angles or in low lighting.

If Face ID often fails to identify you correctly, you may want to perform a new face scan. You can do this by going to Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Reset Face ID.

Was this page helpful?