A piece of code in a third-developer beta from macOS 11 Big Sur indicates that Apple might be trying to introduce Face ID on a Mac computer. According to Neowin, code snippets were found in new extensions. The PearlCamera reference must be the internal code name for the TrueDepth 3D camera. The Face ID feature was first released in 2017 with Apple iPhone X, suggesting one way you can do this when you wear your iMac and MacBook Face ID.
Other terms such as FaceDetect and BioCapture, are also found in the code similar to the terms used in iOS. In addition, the report says that references specifically related to macOS show that these mentions do not appear due to some code being shared from Catalyst. However, the source warns that the code indicates an early stage of development.
TrueDepth cameras take advantage of Apple’s neurons in ARM-based Apple A-series chips. This could mean the company is ready to support Face ID on Mac computers using Apple Silicon processors. As the company gradually leaves Intel processors, they may want to start introducing biometric authentication options when they start offering MacBooks with their own processors. Currently, the only biometric authentication option on the MacBook is a fingerprint sensor, using a custom T2 chip.
For iMacs, the wait may take longer. Such devices do not provide any form of native biometric authentication due to the lack of a T2 chip on the computer’s keyboard – which is a separate peripheral unlike the MacBook. An iMac based on Apple Silicon processor may not be released soon.
While it’s no surprise that the company is working to bring Face ID to the Mac, it’s interesting to see the code coming to macOS soon. It will be interesting to see how the company builds TrueDepth cameras on Macs and what additional features and benefits will be available to users.