Code found within macOS Big Sur points to future Macs with Face ID

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What you need to know

  • Face ID may be coming to the Mac.
  • Code found within macOS Big Sur points to support for the feature.
  • It is unclear when Apple will release its first Mac with Face ID.

Face ID has made its way from the iPhone to the iPad, and now may make its debut on the Mac as well.

Reported by 9to5Mac, code found within the macOS Big Sur beta indicates support for "PearlCamera", an internal codename for the TrueDepth camera and Face ID.

We were able to find a new extension on macOS Big Sur beta 3 with codes intended to support "PearlCamera." You may not remember, but this is the internal codename Apple uses for the TrueDepth camera and Face ID, which was first revealed with the iPhone X leaks in 2017.

Further code like "FaceDetect" and "BioCapture" within the beta also indicate that Apple is in the process of building Face ID support for the Mac.

Codes such as "FaceDetect" and "BioCapture" found within this extension confirms that Apple is preparing macOS to operate with Face ID, as these codes are similar to those used by iOS. We investigated and this Face ID extension was clearly built for macOS, and it's not some remnant code from Catalyst technology.

The Mac has been without Face ID for a number of reasons. First, Apple had chosen to first transition the Mac to Touch ID, which it offers for the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. The iMac and Mac Pro, however, have been without any biometric authentication since engineering the T2 chip to work wirelessly understandably opens security issues.

Instead, it appears that Apple is planning to skip Touch ID on desktop Macs and bring Face ID to the entire lineup, a move that seems to become increasingly likely with Apple's transition to Apple silicon from Intel chips on the Mac.

This will change this year with the transition from Intel processors to Apple Silicon chips on the Mac, as Apple itself has confirmed that Macs running with Apple SoCs will have the same Neural Engine as iPhone and iPad. We believe that might be the main reason Apple hasn't yet introduced a Mac with Face ID.

According to the report, Apple is still in the early stages of building the feature into the Mac, so it is currently unclear as to when it will be ready to roll out support in its first Mac.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.