OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei recently promised to bring the OnePlus 5T's facial unlock feature to the regular OnePlus 5, citing "popular demand" as the the reason why. Now a few days later, Pei has begun to make good on that promise by way of an OxygenOS beta update. This is separate from the original Android 8.0 Oreo update that was made available last week, as that one did not include the coveted feature.
The facial recognition upgrade is the most notable bullet point in the release notes for the new beta, though it is not the only feature. There's also a new app shortcut on Launcher and optimizations for vibration. In addition, the OnePlus team fixed a connection issue that was plaguing 5G Wi-Fi, and also made some general bug fixes and improvements. The update also includes security fixes for December.
More and more smartphones are being outfitted with facial recognition technology to allow users to unlock their handsets without a PIN code or registering a fingerprint. It is one of the big features of the Apple's iPhone X (called Face ID), though the implementation on the OnePlus 5T and now the OnePlus 5 is not the same. The iPhone X uses an infrared "TrueDepth" camera to map out the user's face in 3D, while the OnePlus 5T and 5 use an algorithm to compare images from their front-facing cameras.
Facial recognition technology in its current state is not foolproof. Every company that implements a face unlock feature takes measures to thwart unauthorized access, but there are numerous reports of being able to trick the feature through various means. In that regard, users should view face unlock as more of a convenience than a true security measures.
OnePlus 5 owners who want to download the OxygenOS beta can find it by clicking on the source link and following the instructions. Be sure to back up your data before upgrading.