On my Xiaomi Mi 5X, after installing one of the BETA weekly updates, a new feature appeared: unlocking the phone with facial recognition, iPhone X style.
Intrigued, I immediately activated it, but I had with very low expectations: while on iPhone X there is a 3D scanner that can recognize an “alive” face from a photo, on other phones is much more “basic”, since it uses the front camera.
Anyway, I do not have anything important on the phone, so the possibility that someone else can unlock the phone by showing a picture of me is not a big deal.
I immediately saw how convenient it was: I raise the phone, the screen turns on automatically, I look at it, it unlocks. Fantastic. Indeed, better than iPhone X, because you do not have to swipe your finger to confirm, and anyway, I could always unlock via fingerprint on the back sensor! The best of both worlds!
Then one evening I went out and the phone unlocked in an almost completely dark room. Wow, in this room it’s so dark that I can not recognize people with my own eyes, how the phone could manage this?. Then I thought… an iPhone X uses some kind of Kinect (Apple acquired the company that invented the Kinect sensor a few years ago) and manages to see in 3D in absolute darkness, while my phone uses a common photo sensor, not able to see in the dark.
I tried the recognition on an Asian face and it unlocked! I had low expectations on security, but I did not imagine that he was totally incapable of distinguishing an Asian face from a European face!
Finally, after waiting for months, Super Mario Run is available on Android too! (A totally inexplicable delay – being programmed with Unity, compiling a version for Android it is a matter of a few hours!!!)
I go now to install it! Play Store can’t find it. Strange. I search it from my computer, and I got his:
What does it mean that the app is not compatible with any of my devices???
I have an horrible feeling… maybe they got the same brilliant idea of Pokémon GO and then block the app on rooted phones? The game doesn’t really have online multiplayer, just racing against “ghosts”, and everyone could potentionally cheat via a MITM attack or a cracked APK.
Ok, maybe it’s just a simple check before the installation, just download the APK from some other shady store and it will work, right?
No, as soon it can see that your phone is tampered, it exits immediately!
As a secondary phone I use a Redmi 3S. Recently I noticed that the proximity sensor wasn’t working anymore: when I called someone the screen wouldn’t turn off, and I was activating the device with my face, disabling the mic, placing the call on hold, opening apps, and so on…
To solve this problem I had to:
Turn off the phone
Turning it on while pressing the “volume up” key
On the engineering screen, press 中文 (chinese language), to have the menus in english. (Yes, it’s not intuitive, you have to press on 中文 for english and press on english to have chinese…)
Now choose “single test” and then “proximity sensor”
Keep the phone upright and with the proximity sensor not blocked and press “Calibration”
Tap on “pass”, go back and tap on “power off”.
Restart the phone
Now we can see that the sensor it’s working, either by calling the *#*#64663#*#* (a secret app for testing will appear) or by placing a phone call ✌
I opened Pokémon GO for my evening stroll and … game over!
They blocked the game on any rooted phone!
On Android, root is a must have, so I won’t remove it just to play a games that eats batteries like cakes! (One day I’ll write “10 reasons to get our phone rooted”)
It’s like as the ban on clippers on airplanes: totally useless!
If they wanted to ban cheaters: they’ll continue to cheat, with Magisk, Tasker and Xposed, they can continue to use the fake GPS, move around using a joystick instead of waking, catch chance calculators, and so on.
If they wanted to ban map scanners: they are using a program written for it, so they’ll just use the old API or pretend to be an iPhone.
I could continue to play it by setting Tasker to disable root via Magisk Manager as soon as the game is run, but is it worth?
Well, I removed the game and left an one star review, my battery thanks me 😂
Did you use Bump? Did you like the idea to seamlessly transfer pics from Android to iOS by bimply “bumping” the phones? It was useful because for marketing reasons Apple allows bluetooth transfers of pictures only between iPhone 5 and higher. (iPhone 4 to iPhone 5 = FAIL, Rest of the world to iPhone 5 = FAIL)
Well, Bump has been acquired by Google and, this means it has to die. In the next days it will be retired from the market.
What a pity.