In the Tik Tok shared by user Brie Thomason, a digital camera using an infrared lens is seen filming an iPhone user observing their home screen. As the iPhone user stares blatantly at the device, Thomason’s digital camera captures the iPhone snapping multiple infrared images every 5-10 seconds.
Since the video was uploaded to social media on May 8, it has garnered over 224k likes and over 17.5k shares; alarming some and catching many off guard.
While this discovery may cause some users to panic, Apple claims this is actually just an aspect of the iPhone that allows users to control their face ID and Animoji (the animated emoji function).
According to Apple, this feature was first debuted as the iPhone X’s most groundbreaking function; since it is not even discernible at first glance, even though it literally stares you in the face.
The company calls this feature: the new TrueDepth IR camera. This camera, housed in the black notch at the top of the display, includes a number of high-tech components such as a “flood illuminator,” infrared (IR) camera, and an infrared emitter.
Officials say as an iPhone is used, the latter emits 30,000 infrared dots in a known pattern when a face is detected, enabling the iPhone X to generate a 3D map of a user’s face. According to the team, this TrueDepth IR camera can also do this fast enough to support the creation of 3D motion data as well.
So, yes, your iPhone is essentially taking “invisible” photos of you, but not for the reasons you would think.