Optic ID the new identification and authentication method

Apple’s Vision Pro, now on sale in the United States, uses Optic ID for identification and authentication. This uses the cameras on the inside of the headset to scan the iris of your eye.

Optic ID is a biometric identification system (iris scanner) that uses the unique characteristics of a person’s iris pattern to identify them. It works based on the fact that every person’s iris is unique.

How does Optic ID work?

When developing the Vision Pro, Apple could have chosen to place a Touch ID in the digital crown or in the recording button. However, a much better method of identification based on an iris scanner (Optic ID) has been chosen.

Optic ID is for accessing the Vision Pro headset, making purchases and unlocking passwords. What you ‘normally’ use Face ID (facial recognition) and Touch ID (fingerprint scanner) for, you do this on the Apple Vision Pro with Optic ID.

Vision Pro Iris scanner (Optic ID)

The unique patterns and characteristics of the iris are converted into a digital key and stored encrypted in the Secure Enclave. This Secure Enclave resides locally on the device and cannot be accessed by Apple or developers.

Optic ID works completely automatically without having to press a button or look at a specific point. If you want to unlock the Optic Pro or perform an action that requires authentication, the headset scans your iris. After this, this data is compared with the stored data of your iris in the secure enclave. If these dates match, you have been verified and you can continue.

Optic ID operation

When Optic ID is activated, the Vision Pro uses infrared light to take multiple photos of the patterns on your iris. These images are then compared to the iris set in Optic ID. When there are enough similarities between the images, the spatial computer is unlocked. Optic ID has also been developed in such a way that it automatically processes changes in your iris, for example when your eye color changes slightly.

optic id eye tracking vision pro
Sensors and cameras for eye tracking and Optic ID – Vision Pro © Apple

If the Vision Pro is unable to recognize your Iris, it will ask for the headset’s access code after five failed attempts. You must set this up together with Optic ID as a backup when the Iris is not recognized. You must also enter this code when you have (re)started the Vision Pro or when it has not been unlocked for more than 48 hours. In addition, the Vision Pro asks for your access code every six days.

Is Optic ID safe?

To authenticate users, Apple currently uses Face ID on the iPhone and Touch ID on iPads, iPhones and Macs. But what is the safest method?

Just as irises are unique, fingerprints are also unique to each individual. However, the chance of having two identical fingerprints is considered extremely low. While Touch ID can generally be considered secure, it is theoretically possible to bypass security using advanced methods such as forged fingerprints.

Face ID uses a series of sensors, advanced algorithms and the front camera to scan a user’s face. Face ID can sometimes have difficulty distinguishing identical twins because they have similar facial features. After all, identical twins have the same DNA and share many similarities in their appearance, including facial features.

Face ID dots
Face ID © Apple

Optic ID uses the pattern of the iris. This consists of various elements such as unique radial lines, rings and openings and is genetically determined. The characteristics of the iris do not change throughout a person’s life. They generally remain stable, which increases reliability.

In addition, several studies have shown that even identical twins, who share the same DNA, have unique iris patterns. Optic ID is therefore more secure than Touch ID and Face ID, especially in the case of twins….

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