Apple’s Vision Pro headset will introduce a new approach to security in the company’s products: your eyes. The mixed reality device will use a previously rumored Optic ID system that studies your irises through invisible LED light exposures, and compares it against your enrolled eye data to sign you in. You can use it as a password replacement and to make purchases in the App Store or using Apple Pay.
The company stresses that your eye data is encrypted and isolated in the headset’s Secure Enclave. It never leaves the device and isn’t available to apps. As with Face ID and Touch ID, there won’t be actual images or ways for intruders to abuse the raw information.
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Optic ID comes alongside other privacy protections in the Vision Pro headset. Neither Apple nor anyone else will have access to eye tracking data. Camera and sensor data is processed at the system level, so apps won’t get to peek at your surroundings just to enable spatial functionality. And if you’re capturing photos and videos, there will be a visual indicator to alert people around you. You might not have to worry about a Google Glass-style public outrage.
Iris scanning is not a new security concept. Samsung introduced iris sign-ins with its ill-fated Galaxy Note 7, for example. It’s a relatively novel idea for headsets, though, and could be appreciated if you’d rather not reach for a keyboard (real or virtual) to start using your headset or a specific app. That’s particularly important given Apple’s goals: it sees Vision Pro as the start of a “spatial computing” platform where you may spend hours in mixed reality, and conveniences like Optic ID may make that platform more compelling.
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