Unlocking the Power of iOS 17 Face ID works in landscape

iOS 17 Face ID works in landscape, Apple’s facial recognition system, has become an essential part of the iPhone experience ever since its debut on the iPhone X in 2017. With Face ID, iPhone users can securely unlock their devices, authenticate purchases, and log into apps just by looking at their phone. However, one limitation of Face ID has been that it only works when holding the iPhone vertically in portrait orientation.

With the upcoming release of iOS 17 Face ID works in landscape orientation. This small but important change will allow iOS 17 Face ID works in landscapeto be used far more flexibly and make the iPhone more convenient to use in landscape for tasks like watching videos, playing games, and reading.

Recent Released:What’s New in iOS 17 Health Features

What iPhones Will Support Landscape Face ID?

According to reports from the iOS 17 beta testing period, landscape Face ID will only be available on select iPhone models – specifically the iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro Max, and newer models. Older iPhones like the iPhone 13 series will not support the feature.

This limitation is likely due to hardware requirements. The Face ID module on newer iPhones contains additional sensors to enable expanded head movement and use at wider angles. These upgrades are necessary for reliably recognizing a face in both portrait and landscape orientations.

So if you have an iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max running iOS 17, you’ll be able to take advantage of landscape Face ID. Those with older iPhones will have to continue using Face ID in portrait only for now.

How Does Landscape Face ID Work?

Using Face ID in landscape mode on supported iPhones running iOS 17 is easy. Simply hold your iPhone horizontally and press the Sleep/Wake or Side button as you normally would to wake the device.

When prompted, position your face in front of the TrueDepth camera module at the top of the screen. Be sure to center your face in the viewfinder that appears. The iPhone will then perform a facial scan and unlock once verified.

The scanning process itself is identical to portrait mode. The same attention alerts, animations, and haptic feedback are provided. You just have to keep your head upright and avoid tilting left or right too far. Excessive tilting can put your face outside the scanning zone and prevent Face ID from working properly.

If you wear glasses, you may need to look more directly at the camera for best results. And remember that landscape Face ID does not work if you have Face ID with Mask enabled, since the mask obstructs too much of the face.

When Will You Need Landscape Face ID?

Unlocking your iPhone with Face ID while holding it horizontally may seem like a minor change, but it opens up several new use cases:

  • Unlocking while watching full-screen video
  • Accessing shortcuts from Control Center in landscape
  • Quick app launching from the dock in landscape
  • Logging into apps in landscape, like banking and finance apps
  • Making payments with Apple Pay from the side button
  • Gaming and accessing game menus without needing to reorient

Essentially, any task normally done in landscape can now be accomplished without the interruption of turning your iPhone to portrait just to authenticate. It makes using Face ID more flexible and natural in everyday situations.

Face ID Landscape Limitations

While expanding Face ID to landscape is a big step, there are still some limitations to be aware of:

  • Older iPhones not supported – Only iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro Max and newer can use landscape Face ID. Older models like iPhone 13 lack the proper hardware.
  • Head tilting limited – You can’t tilt your head too far left or right and expect Face ID to work reliably. Keep your head upright.
  • No support for Face ID with Mask – The mode for unlocking while wearing a mask is not available in landscape due to occlusion.
  • Slower unlocking – Initial testing indicates landscape Face ID takes slightly longer to unlock than portrait on average. Optimization may improve this prior to release.
  • Accessibility limitations – Turning on certain Face ID accessibility features like Attention Detection disables landscape unlock.

While not dealbreaking, these limitations mean landscape Face ID may not be ideal in every situation. Portrait unlocking will likely remain the fastest and most consistent way to use Face ID. But landscape provides greater flexibility for when needed.

What Face ID in Landscape Means for the Future

This expansion of Face ID capabilities is an important milestone for Apple and the iPhone. It shows that Apple is committed to continuing to improve and refine Face ID as a primary biometric authentication method.

And with landscape support finally crossed off the list, what other Face ID enhancements could Apple have in store for future iOS updates? Some possibilities include:

  • Face ID for multiple users – Allow more than one face to be registered, like on iPadOS. Useful for shared devices.
  • Improved angles and ranges – Expand the scanning field of view and distances for more flexibility.
  • Enhanced presence detection – Keep the screen on if user is detected looking at it for seamless unlocking.
  • New Face ID accessibility options – More customizations to make Face ID easier to set up and use.
  • Face ID API expansion – Allow Face ID to be leveraged for more creative uses by third-party apps.

Landscape Face ID may seem minor today, but it’s an important step toward Face ID becoming an even more versatile, secure, and user-friendly biometric system. And it shows that with the right hardware upgrades, Apple can continue enhancing it in meaningful ways for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions About Landscape Face ID

Landscape Face ID in iOS 17 is a highly anticipated new feature, but one that also comes with many questions for prospective users. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about using Face ID in landscape orientation.

Does landscape Face ID work with sunglasses?

Yes, you can still use landscape Face ID while wearing most sunglasses. As long as the sunglasses are non-polarized and don’t have obscuring frames, they generally won’t interfere with Face ID scanning. However, very dark tinting on sunglasses could potentially affect recognition accuracy.

Can you enroll a face for Face ID in landscape?

No, enrolling a face for Face ID still needs to be done in portrait orientation even on iOS 17. The initial facial scan during setup requires capturing the face from multiple angles, which is only possible while holding the iPhone vertically.

Does landscape work for app authentication and payments?

Yes, any task that requires Face ID authentication on iOS 17, such as approving purchases or logging into apps, can be done with the iPhone in landscape assuming your face is fully visible. The authentication process itself functions the same.

Can you use Face ID landscape while wearing a mask?

Unfortunately no. Just like in portrait, having a mask on will prevent Face ID in landscape from working properly since it obscures too much of the face. Users will need to remove masks to get landscape Face ID to function.

Is landscape Face ID faster or slower than portrait?

Early iOS 17 testing suggests landscape Face ID may be slightly slower on average than portrait Face ID depending on head angle and positioning. However, the difference should be minor – likely no more than a fraction of a second.

What about using Face ID while lying down – will that ever be possible?

Face ID relies on the TrueDepth camera being able to see your whole face clearly. Lying down puts your face at an angle that the current hardware cannot properly scan. Unless the TrueDepth system receives major upgrades, using Face ID while lying down won’t be reliable.

Can landscape Face ID be used to log into a Mac?

Unfortunately no. Logging into a MacBook or iMac with iPhone Face ID still requires holding the phone vertically in front of the Mac’s camera. Apple would need to significantly expand the Mac TrueDepth camera’s field of view to enable landscape iPhone Face ID login.


The arrival of landscape Face ID in iOS 17 marks a new chapter for Apple’s facial recognition technology. While it may not seem groundbreaking at first, it opens up many more convenient use cases for Face ID and shows Apple’s commitment to improving it over time.

Of course, landscape Face ID does still have its limitations. Older iPhones miss out on the feature entirely, and it can’t be used while wearing a mask or lying down. But for unlocking and authenticating while enjoying content in landscape orientation, it’s a big leap forward in flexibility and utility.

Long-time Face ID users should absolutely try out landscape mode once they install iOS 17. It may quickly become your preferred way to access and use your iPhone in certain situations. And enthusiasts can look forward to even more innovative applications of Face ID as Apple continues refining TrueDepth technology in the years ahead.

Table: Comparison of Face ID in Portrait vs Landscape

iPhone Models SupportediPhone X and newerOnly iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max and newer
Authentication Tasks SupportedUnlocking, Payments, App LoginSame
Glasses and Sunglasses UseYesYes, with some limitations
Mask UnlockingYesNo
Speed/ResponsivenessVery FastSlightly slower on average
Accessibility OptionsFull supportReduced support
Angle and Range FlexibilityModerateIncreased
Ease of Use While MovingDifficultEasier

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