Struggling with FaceID

Opinion, Tech

It’s not a new topic for me but after switching back to my XS from the iPhone 7 I instantly got frustrated with FaceID. I was out and about and with the UK getting some sun (a rare occurrence these days) I was outside. FaceID failed 100% of the time (on iOS 12) and I instantly remembered why I liked using the iPhone 7 so much. I returned the iPhone 7 as I couldn’t justify keeping with the new iPhone launch so close but depending on what gets released this year I may be going back.

I long for the time when we get TouchID back as an under screen fingerprint reader but I have to admit I struggle to see this coming. Unless it’s free with the screen that Apple manufactures in a later iPhone but I feel that FaceID is here to stay.

That’s saddens me as someone that isn’t convinced by the technology. I don’t want to compare to Samsung but there’s something nice about having a device with multiple ways to authenticate.

What do you think? Do you love FaceID? Would you like multiple options?

Rediscovering TouchID


If you’re following along you’ll know I’m trying a little experiment of going back to my trusty iPhone 7. You’ll know I’ve not been the biggest fan of FaceID from its unreliability in bright conditions to the underlying IR technology on my eye balls multiple times a day, I’m just not a fan yet.

Well, coming back to TouchID has been like seeing an old friend again. You might think I’m an old man at this point but in my experience so far unlocking my iPhone is so much more efficient, two scenarios in particular.

The first is taking my iPhone out of my pocket to unlock. With FaceID I would take it out then look and swipe up. With TouchID I unlock as I get it out of my pocket, it’s ready as soon as I am. The second scenario is if it’s on a desk, I no longer have to look over or tilt the phone up to unlock.

I’m not expecting Apple to bring back TouchID but it’s nice (for me) to go back to something that I was so familiar with. One thing that is better with FaceID is if you need to enter a password on a web form or log into an app. No readjusting your hand to use TouchID it simply scans your face, this is a nice feature.

So for me using the iPhone 7 is better than the iPhone XS in this category, unlocking for me is better with TouchID.

Using an iPhone 7 in 2019


I’m doing a little experiment with my devices at the moment. I’ve swapped my iPhone XS for a 7 and a Sony RX100 compact camera. I wanted to see if I preferred a smaller phone to carry and if having a pocketable camera alongside would help me to be more intentional about using my device. I was also experiencing some eye fatigue that I wanted to check was due to FaceID and/or the OLED.

First up the size and weight of the 7 is comfortable and I’m enjoying having a device that’s easy to pocket and forget.

TouchID has always been reliable for me and it unlocks quicker than FaceID. I’m also not blasting eyes with infrared.

The camera isn’t up to the XS but gets closer than you’d think. In low light it’s not great but outside I’d have trouble telling the difference. But on day trips the Sony will be coming along.

Surprisingly the performance holds up. Now its setup and indexed I don’t see a huge difference in performance between my XS and 7. Maybe in editing images in Photos but day to day stuff I’m not bothered.

App switching with the home button or hard pressing the edge of the screen feels old but I’m back used to it.

The major downsides so far are screen size and battery. I’m struggling to type on the smaller 4.7″ screen and reading articles is much less enjoyable. But I can now reach everything with one hand.

On the battery, even after a couple of days I’m noticing I can’t get through a day whereas I can go two on my XS with my current reduced usage.

So will I stick to it? Yes, within my return window on the iPhone 7. I need to do a few day trips first but I’m confident I’ll know the best setup for my in a week or so.

A new approach to the iPhone dock


After wanting to simplify my home screen on my iPhone now I’m a bit more intentional about things I’ve changed the way I use my dock. In the past I’ve had my 4 most used apps but now I’ve added a folder.

My home screen contains only a few apps so I created a folder to the right that has my most used apps. I’ve also gotten used using spotlight again. The second page has folders with all of my apps.

I’ve changed the wallpaper from my current for the screen shot but here’s what the complete screen looks like.

I’m finding that simplifying means using my iPhone is a bit more intentional.

iPhone XS durability


I’ve already written up my mid term thoughts on the XS but I wanted to post a few more shots of the wear and tear my iPhone has picked up without a case.

The screen is still brittle compared to earlier iPhones in my opinion, held up ok but has a few scratches like the one I highlighted above.

I love that worn in Millennium Falcon look to my tech, the stainless steel band has picked up its fair share of scratches.

The back glass has held up great and is only showing a small scratch near the bottom that I can’t get in a photo.

Overall I’m impressed at how durable the stainless steel and glass combination has been, I would prefer aluminium and the jet black finish of the iPhone 7 or a 5c plastic but those days are gone unfortunately.

Eye strain on the iPhone XS


I think I’m being bothered by PWM, here’s a great post with an explainer. Over the last couple of years of using an OLED and FaceId on the new iPhone X models I’ve had spells on and off with eye fatigue and general focussing (yes, I’m getting old and had my eyes tested 😀). I found a few forums on people experiencing similar issues and started to use my iPhone less. Since getting the iPad Mini and using an LCD and most of the time I do feel like my eyes are a bit more rested. I’m not saying either way if the flicker on the OLED is causing me issues as I’m only just experimenting with it but wondered if anyone else felt like this?

I don’t think FaceId is a concern here, Apple have gone through testing to make sure it’s safe for the eyes but the flicker below 50% brightness has some credibility. Once I switch back to my iPhone 7 for a bit I should be in a better position to know what’s what.

Buying a used iPhone


I’ve been on a quest to get a used iPhone for iOS testing but it’s proven more difficult than I thought. I wanted to share my experience of trying to get one I’m happy with. Here in the UK there are a number of high street shops such as CEX that you can pick up used models in various conditions, in my experience they are on the expensive side unless you’re trading something in yourself. Online there are a lot more options but you have to trust the source you’re buying from. I’ve tried a couple of online shops such as Music Magpie but in my experience I’ve had to send them back for a refund due to it being an international device or quality not as described.

After doing a lot of trial and error the only way to be certain you’re getting a phone that’s been looked after and has official Apple parts is either to buy from a friend where you know the history or from the Apple refurbished store.

Don’t waste you’re time with third parties if you want to be sure the phone isn’t dodgy I some way. Now I may be a bit picky but personally I want to know that I’m getting an official Apple screen for my money and the parts are all original.

So, my quest continues.