Do Animojis really need iPhone X’s IR depth sensor?

In the past few days, everyone has been talking about Animojis and their requirements. So I decided to clear the air surrounding iPhone X-exclusive animated emojis.

Can Animojis work without iPhone X’s sensor? 

It all started with this video when Marques Brownlee posted an iPhone X review on his YouTube channel.

At 11:19 in the video, Brownlee talks about how the Animojis continue to work properly even after covering iPhone X’s depth sensor. Since he is a top tech YouTuber, his review got everyone talking about it.

What actually happens is that the iPhone ignores facial recognition data when it is unreliable. The Animojis still continue to work but at a lower quality.

Real-time animation requires two features to work properly –

  • Infrared Dot Projector (for depth)
  • RGB camera (for animation)

Therefore, Marques is clearly mistaken and not right about the IR Depth Sensor being completely useless.

The real requirements of Animojis 

Apple has already clarified that Animojis actually require the following components to work properly and accurately.

  • Infrared Depth Sensor 
  • TrueDepth camera
  • A11 Bionic Processor
  • A11 Neural Engine Block
  • Front RGB camera

The first two hardware components are available only on the iPhone X.

The following components such as A11 processor and Neural Engine are not exclusive to the iPhone X and are present in iPhone 8 as well.

The last component, the front-facing RGB camera, is present in almost all iPhone devices.

Therefore, all these hardware features are available only on Apple’s flagship smartphone.

Will we get Animojis on older iPhones?

Although these animated emojis look simple at the very outset, rendering them in real-time is actually very complex.

All the processing and calculations going on behind the scenes require a lot of hardware firepower. This is why Apple ensures this feature is available only for iPhone X users.

Although Apple can add this feature to other models, it won’t work as good as it does on iPhone X.


With that being said, there’s a high chance that a jailbreak port for this exclusive feature will come out in the future.

A software called FaceRig has been able to do the exact same thing on computers without requiring additional hardware.

Jailbreak tweak developers actually developed facial recognition for iPhone before Apple came out with FaceID. So there’s no good reason as to why we can’t have this feature on older devices such as iPhone 6.

As is evident, the quality won’t be as good as the iPhone X due to missing hardware components.

Would you like to have Animojis on your iPhone? Let us know in the comments section below.

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