5 Common Apple Myths Debunked: From Face ID to Battery Life

How to use Face ID on the iPhone X
How to use Face ID on the iPhone X (Image credit: iMore)

For anyone who considers themselves the techie member of their family or group of friends (or has been involuntarily labeled as such), it can be a bit trying to explain — again and again — that many of the most common tech misconceptions are just that: misconceptions. If you find yourself regularly explaining to your family or friends that, no, charging your phone overnight isn't ruining the battery, this post can help you easily explain some of the most common misconceptions surrounding your Apple devices.

Apple isn't stealing your face or your fingerprint

Face ID setup

Face ID setup (Image credit: iMore)

When Apple first introduced Touch ID and again when it introduced Face ID, some suggested the company was scooping up and keeping your fingerprint and face structure data — that's simply untrue. As my colleague Rene Ritchie explains, Apple never has access to this data:

Like Touch ID, that data is only available within the secure enclave, never leaves the device, is never sent to Apple, and is never included in backups or stored on any servers anywhere.

The same goes for third-party apps that perform facial tracking processes (think Snapchat) to layer on masks and other effects — those apps never get access to the facial structure data collected by Face ID:

No. Just like apps never got access to your fingerprints with Touch ID, they never get access to your face data with Face ID. Once the app asks for authentication, it hands off to the system, and all it ever gets back is that authentication (or rejection).

You can learn more about Face ID, Touch ID, and Apple's protection of your data by checking out Rene Ritchie's complete guide on Face ID:

Face ID: Why you shouldn't be worried about iPhone X unlock

Face ID hasn't been hacked

While we're on the subject, you'll want to be able to explain to friends and family that Face ID hasn't been (and likely never will be) hacked. Folks have spoofed the system in very specific, very exacting circumstances, but no one has hacked Apple's Face ID system. Your phone is just as (if not more) safe using Face ID as it was using Touch ID.

Want to learn more? Here's Rene Ritchie's complete explanation of Face ID spoofs and the system's lack of hacks:

Face ID hasn't been hacked: What you need to know

Force quitting apps doesn't save battery life

We've all got that family member or friend who we see swiping away at their open apps, force quitting them dutifully before locking their phone. People seem to think it saves battery life on the iPhone. Let me be clear: it doesn't. Apple's own Craig Federighi (the senior vice president of software engineering) categorically confirms this. When he was asked if he force quit apps and if force quitting helped battery life he said, "No and no."

We've collected plenty of arguments and evidence to support this categorical denial. You can read more about all the ways this mass delusion is wrong here:

To force quit or not to force quit apps? That is the question...

Machine learning and artificial intelligence aren't surfacing your secrets

The terms "artificial intelligence" and "machine learning" have been known to stir up a few conspiracies and misconceptions in tech. Apple's own Core ML platform faced this very challenge back in October when Wired published an article claiming that the company's machine learning engine could surface your iPhone's secrets. As my colleague Rene Ritchie explains, apps that make use of Apple's machine learning tech aren't getting more access to data:

There's no data that an app can access through Core ML that it couldn't already access directly. From a privacy perspective, there's nothing harder in the screening process either. The app has to declare the entitlements it wants, Core ML or no Core ML.

In other words, regardless of Core ML (again, that's Apple's machine learning tech), apps aren't getting deep, dark secrets buried in your iPhone. If you're looking for more evidence to take to your family and friends, you can learn more about Core ML here:

No, Apple's Machine Learning Engine can't surface your iPhone's secrets

Planned obsolescence is not a thing

Although the recent revelation that Apple throttles performance on older iPhones to balance power issues with aging batteries has ruined things for all of us, your family member is still mostly wrong when they claim Apple is purposefully trying to get them into a new iPhone. In fact, Apple's throttling is an example of how the company works to combat obsolescence: In order to provide a better experience on older phones (i.e. phones that don't randomly shut down while they're being used due to battery drain), the company programmed its software to balance processing and power requirements.

Regardless of what Apple device you're using, it's in the company's best interest to make sure your experience is as top-notch as possible. Ruining its high customer satisfaction ratings and reputation doesn't do Apple any good.

There's loads more to learn about Apple's decision to throttle performance and the company's $29 battery replacement program. You can learn everything you need to know here:

Apple's $29 battery replacement program: what you need to know

Others?

Did we miss any? What are some common misconceptions your family and friends tend to tout as gospel? Give us a shout in the comments or over on Twitter and we'll add the best and/or most annoying to the list!

Mikah Sargent

Mikah Sargent is Senior Editor at Mobile Nations. When he's not bothering his chihuahuas, Mikah spends entirely too much time and money on HomeKit products. You can follow him on Twitter at @mikahsargent if you're so inclined.

15 Comments
  • "In fact, Apple's throttling is an example of how the company works to combat obsolescence" - nah, they'd make it an option if it was to avoid obsolescence. They did it this way for plausible deniability. "Oh, we only did it to save battery life, not any other reason..." Same reason it happens during software updates, not in general.
  • Yep Planned Obsolescence is a thing and if you think it isn't your moron! not only on iPhones but nearly every mac that was produced during Mr Cook's time at Apple just look how certain firmware updates happen to slow those computers down on a new version of The OS, or iOS. Prime example the 2012 line of iMacs though they had there best performance in Mountain Lion, any OS passed that (Which Apple Claimed this Line of Mac supported) severely crippled the performance forcing you to upgrade your machine ( in reality replace). when the Machine had only been out for 6 months. Prior to Mr Cook Macs under Job's reign usually had a lifespan of 5 years or more.
  • Macs still have a lifespan of 5 years or more, nothing's changed. I haven't seen any Macs I've used in the past few years slow down
  • "In fact, Apple's throttling is an example of how the company works to combat obsolescence"...If you believe that I've got a bridge to sell you. They did it to drive new sales and then scrambled up a bs story after they got caught and named in a series of lawsuits. That's what happens when you try to pull a fast one in the name of greed. They should be ashamed of themselves given the premium we all pay for Apple hardware. They aren't, of course, but they should be.
  • The throttling was clearly explained to stop the device switching off due to battery wear, and if you knew anything about technology, you'd understand that makes logical sense.
  • Lol @ “planned obsolescence isn’t a thing”.
  • It exists in some companies, but there is nothing which implies that Apple implements planned obsolescence.
  • Two of these are not only not myths, it's patently ridiculous that you'd try to convince us otherwise. - Force quitting apps absolutely saves battery life, especially for social media apps like Facebook. This is demonstrable, repeatable, and significant. The difference is night and day. Federighi is either lying, or incompetent if he claims otherwise. - Planned obsolescence is Apple's prime directive. Very little happens from a product release standpoint unless it facilitates that goal. Forcing you to move on to the newest model by any means necessary is what they have been doing in the most blatant of ways for quite some time.
  • I don't get why you people defend Apple over everything. I'm a huge Apple fan, but I can't excuse them from doing the unthinkables.
  • It depends what's being defended, but if you're talking about "planned obsolescence", then iMore is right, that's not a thing. Not in Apple, at least.
  • Must be a slow day over at Android central when first 6 posts are all dismissing, with a slight of hand, all reason and presenting their conspiracy theories on planned obsolescence.
    I especially loved @Wesley Gunder’s anecdotal evidence about how when Tim Cook took over in 2012 software updates on Macs slowed down computers. Well I see your anecdotal evidence and raise your with mine when my 2008 iMac (under SJ) was perceivably slowed down starting at Snow Leopard.
    Whatever. This has been explained ad nauseam.
  • No Android junk in this household. My wife, my daughter, and I all have macbook Pros, iPhones and iPads, And I use an iMac for work. All Apple, all the time. That's how we know what we are talking about when it comes to some of these issues.
  • There’s too much fluff going around with this issue and the iMore gang have all gone to great lengths to keep us informed. That’s what I’m responding to.
    It’s true that Apple wasn’t transparent enough when they released iOS 10.2.1 a little over a year ago and are now feeling the effects.
    Also similar issues did occur under Steve’s reign and he was much more arrogant than Tim ever was (in response to another poster who claimed that stuff like this happens much more since Tim took over).
  • Planned obselecence is always part of product planning. If not, then their business won't be successful. Long-term performance & battery longevity are part of the equation. Keeping the performance (but battery drains quicker) or throttling performance (but battery stays relatively the same) are part of the same coin.
  • There is no planned obsolescence in this case. Get over it.
    Mobile technology is moving very fast and features never thought of two years ago are now becoming mainstream.
    If you’re not happy with Apple try comparing a Nexus 6P with today’s Pixel 2.
    As for batteries go all Lithium ion technology is the same, no matter the manufacturer.
    The bigger the device the bigger the battery the less likely the problem.
    If you have a 6 os 6S take it to an Apple store, replace the battery and get more life out of your device.
    If any of these class action suits come to bear fruit you may get $100 out of it, while the lawyers/vultures will rake in the millions.