Face Pause uses face detection to pause games and videos when you’re not looking
Choosing the right screen timeout can be a chore. You want to pick a time that’s long enough so your phone’s screen doesn’t turn off when you’re using it, but not so long that you risk others getting access to your phone because you forgot to lock it. Samsung introduced a feature called Smart Stay to keep your phone awake so long as you’re looking at it, and Google looks to be adding a similar feature to Android Q. Face Pause by XDA Junior Member CarlDuncan puts a twist on that feature. Rather than keeping your phone awake while you aren’t looking, Face Pause does the opposite by “pausing” your phone when you’re not looking.
The premise is simple, but it can be useful if you’re playing a game, watching a video, or listening to music. Here’s a video demonstrating the app “pausing” in action:
As you can see, a screen overlay is applied when a face isn’t detected in the front camera’s view. You can change the opacity of this overlay to customize how much of the screen you want to obscure, but do note that this app doesn’t actually offer any protection against nosy bystanders. That’s because the app only uses the front camera to check for the presence of a face, not your face.
In the brief time that I used the app, it was able to detect when I was looking at my phone and when I wasn’t, so I have to give it props for actually working. I’m not sure if the app is using something like ML Kit’s Face Detection API, but since the app involves constantly checking images from the front camera, there is a “power saving mode” that makes you manually tap the screen to hide the screen overlay. Here’s the full list of features:
- Fast App Launcher – easily launch your favorite apps boosted directly and conveniently from the FacePause app!
- Screen Standby Customization – choose the color of the screen overlay when the screen is paused.
- Power saving mode – manually turn on the screen and turn it off.
- Rear-view camera face authentication – face detection using the rear view camera to control the pause.
- Face Detection Frequency – you can specify how often the camera should check if you have turned away.
- Display Menu – choose to display a menu when the screen is paused allowing you to access the App Launcher fast.
- Pause cam – option to show the pause cam on your screen while using FacePause.
You can download the app from the Google Play Store link below.
Face Pause is pretty buggy with YouTube, so the developer made a separate app called Face Tube. It works a bit differently than Face Pause, since in order to start face detection, you have to manually share a YouTube video link to the Face Tube share target in the share sheet. Here’s a video demonstrating this process.