Test Shows That a Plethora of Smartphones Can Still Be Unlocked with a Picture

The Consumers Association in the Netherlands, a body whose mission is to defend the interests of all consumers and enable them to make better and easier choices, has found that a number of phones with face unlock can still be tricked with a photograph.

Overall, the association tested 110 models and found that 42 of them could be unlocked with a high-resolution image of the phone’s owner. That represents roughly 38% of the tested devices.

There is some good news for Apple and Apple fans though. All 9 iPhone models that were tested by the association passed the test.

On the other hand, the experiment revealed that many models produced by some of the world’s leading mobile device manufacturers can be outsmarted using the simple trick. The list of manufacturers included names such as Alcatel, Asus, Blackberry, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sony, and Xiaomi.

To be fair, many of the phones do prompt users with a warning that says that face unlock is less safe than other unlocking methods during set up.

Worried about your phone? Check the lists below to see if it failed the test.

Devices that were unlocked using a photo:

  • Alcatel 1X
  • Asus Zenfone 5 Lite 64 GB
  • Asus Zenfone 5, ZE620KL (64 GB)
  • BlackBerry Key2
  • BlackBerry Key2 (US version)
  • BQ Aquaris X2
  • BQ Aquaris X2 Pro
  • General Mobile GM8
  • HTC U11 +
  • Huawei P20 (EML – L29)
  • Huawei P20 Lite
  • Huawei P20 Pro (CLT – L29)
  • Lenovo Motorola Moto E5
  • Lenovo Motorola Moto E5 (BR version)
  • Lenovo Motorola Moto E5 Plus (BR version)
  • Lenovo Motorola Moto G6 Play
  • LG K9 (LM-X210EMW)
  • LG Q6 Alpha (LG-M700n)
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play (BR version)
  • Motorola One
  • Nokia 3.1
  • Nokia 3.1 (US version)
  • Nokia 7.1
  • Oukitel VU
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018)
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (32GB) (SM-A530F / DS)
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (64 GB)
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 + (SM-A730F)
  • Samsung Galaxy J8 Brasil
  • Sony Xperia L2 (H3311)
  • Sony Xperia L2 (H3321)
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 (H8216)
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 (US version)
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact (H8314)
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact (US version)
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact Dual SIM (H8324)
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Dual SIM (H8266)
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium (US version)
  • Sony Xperia XZ3
  • Vodafone Smart N9
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
  • Xiaomi Mi A2 (32GB)

Devices that were unlocked using a photo, but were able to resist the trick after enabling a “stricter” setting:

  • Honor 7A
  • LG G7 thinQ
  • LG G7 thinQ (US version)
  • LG G7 thinQ Dual SIM
  • LG V35 ThinQ (US version)
  • LG V40 ThinQ

Finally, the devices that passed the test:

  • Alcatel 3V (5099D)
  • Alcatel 5
  • Apple iPhone XR (128 GB)
  • Apple iPhone XR (256 GB)
  • Apple iPhone XR (64 GB)
  • Apple iPhone XS (256GB)
  • Apple iPhone XS (512GB)
  • Apple iPhone XS (64GB)
  • Apple iPhone XS Max (256GB)
  • Apple iPhone XS Max (512GB)
  • Apple iPhone XS Max (64GB)
  • Asus Zenfone Max Plus (ZB570TL)
  • Honor 10
  • Honor 7C
  • Honor 8X
  • Honor View 10
  • HTC U12 + (EU version)
  • HTC U12 + (US version) Huawei P Smart +
  • Huawei Y6 (2018) (ATU-L21)
  • Huawei Y7 (2018)
  • Huawei Mate 20
  • Huawei Mate 20 Lite
  • Huawei Mate 20 Pro
  • Lenovo Motorola Moto G6 (32GB)
  • Lenovo Motorola Moto G6 (64GB)
  • Lenovo Motorola Moto G6 (US version)
  • Lenovo Motorola Moto G6 Plus
  • Lenovo Motorola Moto Z3 .US version
  • Lenovo Motorola Moto Z3 Play
  • Lenovo Motorola Moto Z3 Play (US version)
  • Motorola Moto G6 (BR version)
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus (BR version)
  • One Plus 5T
  • OnePlus 6 (128GB)
  • OnePlus 6 (256GB)
  • OnePlus 6 (64GB)
  • OnePlus 6 (US version) (64 GB)
  • Oppo Find X
  • Samsung Galaxy A6 (32GB)
  • Samsung Galaxy A6 + (32GB)
  • Samsung Galaxy A6 + (64 GB)
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018)
  • Samsung Galaxy J6 (2018)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (128 GB) (EU version)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (128 GB) Dual SIM (BR version)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (128 GB) Single SIM (EU version)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9 SM-N960U1 (US version)
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 (SM-G960F / DS)
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 SM-G960U1 (US model)
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 256GB
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 dual (128GB)
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 + (SM-G965F / DS)
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 + 256GB
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 + dual (128GB)
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 + Single SIM
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 + SM-G965U1 (US model)
  • WIKO View 2

Just to be on the safe side, perhaps it would be better to stick to PINs and lock patterns for now.