A video demonstrating how often an iPhone takes photos of a user — without the user’s knowledge — is freaking people out on TikTok.
In the TikTok video shared by user @briethomason, she is seen holding a digital camera equipped with an infrared lens in front of her friend who is just looking at his iPhone home screen. As the iPhone user stares at the screen, Thomason’s digital camera captures the iPhone snapping multiple infrared images every five to ten seconds. Thomason asks her friend to block the phone’s front-facing camera to see if the photo-taking ceases, but it does not: it tries to take photos of his finger that’s blocking the camera.
Since the video was uploaded on May 8, it has garnered almost 260,000 likes and over 20,000 shares, alarming many users who shared their qualms in the comments section.
One user wrote, “time to switch to android my dudes.”
Another person said, “How many times has apple seen me nakey I need some remittances for that.”
One TikToker commented, “Sometimes during the night I can see a little red dot every now and then on the top of my phone and I always wondered what that was lmaooooo.”
While this discovery may cause some users to panic, Apple says this is actually just an aspect of the iPhone that allows users to control their face ID and Animoji through the use of a “state-of-the-art TrueDepth camera system with advanced technologies to accurately map the geometry of your face.” The feature is available on iPhone X and later models, and iPad Pro models with the A12X Bionic chip.
The tech company says their TrueDepth infrared (IR) camera, which sits in the black notch at the top of the display, includes a number of high-tech components such as a “flood illuminator,” IR camera and an infrared emitter.
WFLA reports that as an iPhone is used, it 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.