The trick for faking eye contact in real life? Look at the eyebrows. The trick over FaceTime? Augmented reality, according to Apple’s latest update.
Generally, when you FaceTime someone, you’re looking at their face throughout the call. Even if you’re staring at their eyes, though, they won’t see you making eye contact. Because you’re not looking directly into the camera, the video shows your eyes looking down or off to the side.
For those trying to connect with far-away loved ones, this digital eye contact problem is annoying. Now, Apple is apparently working to fix it with something their calling “FaceTime Attention Correction,” which appears on the third developer beta of iOS 13.
Twitter user Mike Rundle discovered the feature on his phone and tested it out with his friend Will Sigmon. The feature can apparently be turned on and off, and digitally corrects your eyes to make it look like their staring at the camera.
Other Twitter users raced to figure out how exactly Apple made this feature. Dave Schukin theorized that Apple used its augmented reality technology, ARKit, to adjust your eye position. He used sunglasses to show how the technology warps the lines, hinting at an augmented reality approach.
Despite the slight warping around the eyes and nose, the feature looks pretty real. Soon, if you’re looking down or even out the window, your friend at the other end of the call could be making perfect eye contact with you.
At this point, the feature has only shown up on the new iPhone XS and XS Max, but fake eye contact could soon be a standard over FaceTime.