Mac Face ID is an uphill struggle for Apple: Here's why

Even though Face ID has become integral to the iPhone experience, we haven't seen the technology make its debut on Apple's Mac lineup yet. Given how big it is on iPhone, the expectation is that Face ID will eventually make its way to Mac, but if it does, which will be the first Mac to get it? While we continue to analyze the rumors leading up to this (likely inevitable) event, today insider reports suggest that Apple won't be bringing Face ID to desktop or laptop hardware any time soon.

According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman (as reported by MacRumors), we aren't likely to see Face ID debut on MacBooks simply because the technology required to fit Face ID into a thin display doesn't exist yet. Gurman tackled the topic in the Q&A section of his latest Power On newsletter, where he said that he thinks the iMac or standalone monitors are the most likely candidates to receive Face ID first.

"Face ID was in the cards for the original M1 iMac," Gurman stated. "Naturally, the iMac is the thickest Mac with a built-in display since Apple's laptops have fairly thin screens. At this point, the technology to embed Face ID into the thin MacBook displays doesn't exist. So if Face ID comes to the Mac, I think it will be on an iMac or external monitor first." Gurman went on to note that Apple has "definitely been working on this," but that there is no guarantee that they'll ever actually launch a product for consumers.

This notion that Apple has been working on implementing Face ID in its Mac lineup isn't a new revelation. Rumors about Macs equipped with Face ID have been swirling for a couple of years at this point – at least as far back as 2020, when discoveries in macOS Big Sur suggested that Apple was working on a Face ID implementation for Mac.

Last year, Gurman himself wrote about this topic in another edition of his newsletter, in which he said that while Apple was working on Face ID for Macs, we may not see the feature launch for another couple of years. Even then, we knew that the technology required for Face ID would likely be too big for a space that was typically occupied by a relatively basic webcam, presenting some engineering challenges for Apple in its pursuit of ever-slimmer MacBooks.

Of course, one could argue that shaving off millimeters isn't worth it if it means there's no space for components that would make the user experience better, but regardless, it sounds like Apple is going to have to figure out some kind of sizing solution if it wants to put Face ID on MacBooks. That's why the iMac or even something like the Pro Display XDR could be better initial choices for Face ID, but we still don't expect implementing it on those platforms will be without its frustrations.

We'll just have to see what happens from here, but if Face ID is going to make the jump to Mac, then we should probably be looking to the iMac before anything else. Apple is reportedly plotting a March 2022 event for the iPad and iPhone SE, but there's always a chance we could see some new stuff on the Mac side of things. We'll keep you posted either way, so stay tuned.