Optic ID – This is how the Apple Vision Pro’s iris recognition works

Apple's VR glasses “Vision Pro” offer the option of scanning your own face to create a virtual persona. To do this, the device must be removed from the face and the external cameras must be held towards the face. This would be too cumbersome to use Face ID, which is why Apple chose Optic ID as the verification method. As the name suggests, the eyes play an important role - more precisely, the iris. With the Apple Vision Pro you identify yourself using an iris scan. Apple is now showing how this works in new support documents.

The Apple Vision Pro uses Optic ID for unlocking, logins, Apple Pay and other verifications. You can find out how to set up the iris scan, how to use it for the iPhone and more here.
The Apple Vision Pro uses Optic ID for unlocking, logins, Apple Pay and other verifications. You can find out how to set up the iris scan, how to use it for the iPhone and more here.

General information about Optic ID

Apple has made it easier to verify yourself and protect certain data from unauthorized access on the iPhone and iPad with Touch ID (fingerprint scan). With Face ID (face scan), another option was introduced with the iPhone Optic ID (iris scan) is now the further development of these technologies. From the Apple Vision Pro onwards, it should enable simple authentication, secure payment methods and the secure storage of data.

The iris scan is carried out for the individual security questions without any inconvenience. Special LEDs and infrared cameras are used within the Vision Pro, which make a bright environment and thus the use of bright, dazzling LEDs unnecessary. In addition to Apple's own services, developers of third-party apps and services can also use Optic ID, for example. B. to enable logins. Apps that use Touch ID and/or Face ID on the iPhone and iPad automatically use Optic ID on the Vision Pro as a new option for user verification.

Symbolic image for using Optic ID with the Apple Vision Pro. According to the manufacturer, the technology should also be able to keep identical twins apart. Source: WWDC23 Keynote / YouTube
Symbolic image for using Optic ID with the Apple Vision Pro. According to the manufacturer, the technology should also be able to keep identical twins apart. Source: WWDC23 Keynote / YouTube

Setting up Optical ID on the Apple Vision Pro

If you want to set up the Optic ID on the Apple Vision Pro, you can do this via Settings (Settings) of the device. You choose the point there Optical ID & Password (Optic ID & Passcode) and the item in its menu Set up Optical ID (Set up Optic ID). Here you now follow the instructions on the screens. The Optic ID should also work when using contact lenses.

If ZEISS lenses are used, you can select this during setup. The ZEISS lenses, which can be ordered specifically for the Vision Pro, must first be paired with the Vision Pro (insert and scan the QR code on the packaging). However, you can also set up the Optic ID first and use the ZEISS option later. The Optic ID can be set up for up to two pairs of ZEISS lenses.

Verify via Optic ID on iPhone with the same Apple ID

Through the Vision Pro you can see the environment and the software content projected onto it. This means that you can use the iPhone even if you have the spatial computer on your face. However, this verification method cannot be used on iPhones with Face ID - the face is simply not recognized with Apple glasses on it.

But that doesn't matter, because the use of Optic ID is accepted from iOS 17.1. To do this, the iPhone and Vision Pro must be used with the same Apple ID, the iPhone must have been unlocked within the last hour and the use of Optic ID must have been activated in the settings.

One-eyed operation of the Apple Vision Pro

If there is ocular dominance / eye dominance, then you can adjust the Vision Pro accordingly and operate it primarily with the dominant eye. The Optic ID is then limited to the dominant eye. The corresponding option appears during the setup of the Optic ID (see above).

Using Optic ID in visionOS: Here's how!

Once everything is set, you will get the best results if you look directly at the Optic ID symbol during the iris scan. This also and especially applies to unlocking the device when you set it up for the first time for a usage session. If verification (login, Apple Pay payment, etc.) fails, you can select the Optic ID symbol on the virtual keyboard and try again. Alternatively, you can also use the device’s unlock code.

Optic ID is used in visionOS for, among other things:

  • Buy/download apps in the App Store
  • Use Apple Pay in Safari or apps
  • Buy/Download eBooks in Apple Books
  • Log in to apps quickly and easily
  • Fill out passwords and forms in Safari

“Optic ID” data is managed on the Secure Enclave

Apple uses a specially developed co-processor called the “Secure Enclave”. This was already used on the Mac in Intel models on the T1 and T2 chip. As of 2020, the Secure Enclave is a native part of Apple Silicon, i.e. the M-chip series. The co-processor is also used on the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and other Apple devices.

With the own operating system sepOS equipped, it manages the sensitive login data securely and protected from hacks. It comes in the Apple Vision Pro M2 chip is used, which also contains a secure enclave and thus manages the Optic ID data isolated from visionOS. This is intended to ensure the security of the biometric data on the spatial computer.

Apple's support documents for the Vision Pro

I will summarize the complete list of the latest support documents and manuals for the Vision Pro in a separate post. But here are the three most important pages in relation to the topic discussed here:

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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.