Android Central

One of the more frivolous features introduced into Android with Ice Cream Sandwich, was the Face Unlock. While it's always been something cool to show off against your iPhone toting friends, it's never really been overly useful, or secure. It's not the most reliable feature in the world,  and it can be duped by a photograph, and generally makes unlocking your phone longer. 

Enter Jelly Bean, and an improvement to Face Unlock. Pointed out in the Android Central Forums, by member ​Jays2Kings​, within the security settings menu in Jelly Bean is a new option -- Liveness check.

So, this is supposed to get round the potential picture duping issue, by making it so Face Unlock will check for the person in front of it blinking. In other words, making sure you're alive. While it's good to see solutions for potential security risks, ​Jays2Kings ​also points out that it doesn't really pick up normal blinking too well. Seems that it works best when you have your eyes open really wide, and all it seems to do is to further slow down the process of unlocking your phone with Face Unlock

How about you guys? Anyone who's running one of the Jelly Bean ROM's already out there, and tried this out, shout out in the comments and let us know how it works for you. 

​thanks Jays2Kings!


Reader comments

Face Unlock in Jelly Bean gets a 'Liveness check'


It's the same with my Gnexus. I hit power while looking at my phone, and a split second later it's unlocked.

However, I'm still a fan of the stock lockscreen. It's too often that I hand my phone off to a friend while cooking/otherwise have my hands full to have them find something.

Also, Camera shortcut, notification dropdown and (on JB) Google Now shortcut are so useful to me.

Umm maybe you have the latest and greatest phone on the market? Take a midrange phone and come back to us with how fast it is.

PS- *GRABS HIS S3 AND RUNS OFF* <----sick of waiting for his to show up. >.<

To tell truth I might of been in bad lighting, just tried it now, it's better now still fails to pick up every now and then. Also thanks for putting this up Richard.

I thought it was a pretty cool idea. I had been going around for the last week with my ICS galaxy nexus testing my face unlock on family. I realized a photo might fool the camera, so was surprised to see the blink test on this JB release. Very cool. I can look even off-camera a little and get the blink register, but other times it doesn't recognize me (which is fine since we also get a back-up unlock procedure to choose from). I don't find it slower or faster than ICS's face unlock, but I think they would be better suited with two separate front facing camera's to pick up 3-dimensional shapes (thus avoiding the use of photographs to unlock).

Or just a "Turn your head a little to the right/left" option. You'd need video instead of a picture to fool it then.

You can still dupe it with video of you, it should ask you to put shoe on top of your head, that has been way to securely verify people for thousands of years.

You can still dupe it with video of you putting shoe on top of your head, it should ask you to do Hammer Time dance while baking a cake, that has been way to securely verify people for thousands of years.

As has already been stated, a decently shot still video of you blinking should fool the unlock. An easy solution would be to blink a certain number of times or in a certain numeric or rhythmic order to get it to unlock.

Let's get serious here, though. If I lose my phone, or it gets stolen, the odds of the person that has it having a video of me blinking is almost nil.

So, while we can sit here and come up with ways to beat face unlock, this addition actually increases security quite a bit.

google needs to just place a temperature laser into the handset that detects the temperature of the face while scanning it. Problem solved?


Going blind? Er....picky picky picky.

I actually really liked the Atrix's fingerprint unlock. Maybe some manufacturers will consider adding that in the future...?

I just tried face unlock for the first time on my EVO and I'm suddenly so amused by it... Heck I don't even consider it a gimmick anymore, even in low light it seems to unlock faster than I could draw a simple curve pattern... The only trick to it seems to be actually looking right at the phone, if you're sorta glancing around it takes longer, but pattern lock is always a button press away anyway. I'm actually gonna leave it on, just took pics with both pairs of prescription glasses and without... I'll have to take another later with the usual unshaved hobo look I tend to sport. :p