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"Inside" the fingerprint sensor of the new iPhone 5S

The new Apple iPhone 5S is here, and with it - a fingerprint sensor! But what does it do, and do we really need this stuff? Well, we can't offer you a complete answer just yet, but from what we saw during Apple's presentation, it looks like this new iPhone feature will prove to be quite handy in our everyday usage.

As expected, the fingerprint sensor of the iPhone 5S will be built right into the new home button (which has a new design, by the way). That means the home button will no longer be just a piece of plastic, but will actually have some quite sophisticated technology behind it.

"Inside" the fingerprint sensor of the new iPhone 5S
Here's how it goes: on the surface we have the super-high-quality laser-cut sapphire crystal that will protect the home button from scratches; around it there's going to be a stainless steel ring, also called "detection ring"; immediately behind the glass cover is going to be the so-called Touch ID sensor, and finally, tehre's going to be a tactile switch.

Now that we've gotten the hardware part out of the way, let's focus on the usability cases of the fingerprint sensor. Actually, Apple hasn't been that specific when it comes to each and every way we're going to benefit from Touch ID, but we at least know that the fingerprint sensor will be used for easy and secure locking/unlocking of the device, as well as for quick authorization of iTunes purchases... which is all a pretty big deal, by the way. According to Apple, most users don't really bother to set up a pass code for their phones, because it takes some time to unlock your device every time, and there's some solid truth behind that. With the new Touch ID fingerprint scanner, though, every iPhone 5S can be easily secured, and in a way that will enable only you (and the other people whose fingerprints you've scanned) to access it. The fingerprint taken by the iPhone 5S will be stored in such a way on the device, which will make it impossible to be downloaded or uploaded to the internet, or even to Apple's own iCloud. When it comes to Touch ID prints, every sample is going to remain on the phone only. And, as we said, the sensor will be able to "remember" multiple prints, so that it won't be impossible to share your phone with others. All of this means that security with the iPhone 5S will get a pretty nice boost, as using the Touch ID sensor to unlock your device will be extremely quick and easy, while others will no longer be able to "guess" your passcode.

The other use case mentioned by Apple — authorizing iTunes purchases — also sounds like a wonderful feature. No longer are we going to need to enter our iTunes passwords each time we want to buy a new app, game, album or whatever. Now, a simple touch on the iPhone 5S's fingerprint sensor will be enough to tell the device that it's really you who wants to make this purchase.

All in all, we're very excited about the fingerprint sensor of the iPhone 5S. It's really an innovative feature (yes, other phones have had such technology in the passed, but they haven't utilized it in a way that would make it go mainstream) that promises to enhance our daily smartphone usage, and that's a very good thing.

Images courtesy of The Verge
Images courtesy of The Verge

Images courtesy of The Verge


48 Comments
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posted on 10 Sep 2013, 13:52 4

1. Sauce (unregistered)


iLove it!

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 14:03 4

9. E.N. (Posts: 2610; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)


They just need to add 3rd party access to this feature and its a home-run. Secure and quick login into your banking apps, amazon, etc. would be really cool.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 14:05

11. Sauce (unregistered)


Yes that would be great! I used to have a big feeling that something like that would happen, but after they announced that all the fingerprint data will remain only on the processor and no where else (iCloud, servers, etc etc) I'm not sure what to think.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 14:32

18. zennacko (Posts: 237; Member since: 16 Jun 2013)


For me it\'s good news enough... especially in case you lose or someone steals the phone... since it\'s locked on processor, not even re-formatting the phone would be enough for the thieves.

Would be good if some data were on some server, too, but this seems good as it is for now, at least there won\'t be any kiddies blowing their parents\' wallet playing candy crush anymore (unless it\'s not meant to be used as in-app purchase security too...)

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 02:00

39. GoJin (Posts: 10; Member since: 05 Feb 2013)


.until McGyver gets a hold of some gelly thingy, copies the finger print of the owner on that gel. Then place the gel on top of the sensor...presto!

one heck of an \"innovation\", hehe.

oh, Apple realized this work-around so they \"innovated\" some more by adding voice recognition to increase security that goes with the finger print sensor...but alas!

Jason Bourne comes, does his thing, going, \"Noah Vossen\" click!

Apple goes...fffffff*****kkkkk!!!!

but I love having this on my gadgets though.
:P

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 13:56 7

2. andro. (Posts: 1999; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)


Seeing how often the current iphone home button goes fault,especially just after the 12 month warranty is up I've a feeling this finger print scanner is gonna cause some major headaches when it stops working for mobile network sales staff!!

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 13:57 2

3. Dorothy69 (banned) (Posts: 498; Member since: 21 May 2013)


So what happens if you jAiLbreak your phone and swap out the Home button, how would you unlock/authorize it??

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 13:59

5. Sauce (unregistered)


What do you mean Jailbreak the phone and swap out the Home Button? Do you mean customize the Home Button with third party home buttons?

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 13:59 8

6. PAPINYC (banned) (Posts: 2315; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


Click your iHeels three times, that should take you home.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 13:58 4

4. Googler (Posts: 813; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)


Normally I'd say they are a gimmick but having them also act as a password to eliminate steps isn't a bad idea. Wonder if all those articles about kids charging hundreds/thousands of dollars in iTunes on their parents phones had anything to do with this?

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 14:04

10. good2great (Posts: 1042; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)


great observation.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 15:25 1

26. SellPhones82 (Posts: 569; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)


If you add your kids print as an "approved" one so they can unlock it, won't they then be able to purchase stuff the same way? Will there be different levels of access for a given print like unlock only and/or purchasing on/off? I ending up having to remove my CC all together from my son's iPad since they were order things all the time! Now I just load gift cards and when he burns through them he's done til I load more.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 17:30

34. Googler (Posts: 813; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)


Good question. Google recently adapted multi-users for Android, not sure if Apple is thinking that way also.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 13:59

7. timtimity (Posts: 196; Member since: 13 Aug 2012)


Interesting idea, but what happens if it breaks. Wonder if you'll have to put a passcode in when you add your fingerprint for the first time as a backup.

posted on 15 Sep 2013, 16:05

47. dvada191 (Posts: 8; Member since: 15 Sep 2013)


I think if you don't set a passcode, then you can just swipe to unlock as usual.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 14:00 9

8. GrapeEyes (Posts: 248; Member since: 01 Sep 2013)


NSA are rubbing their hands together, now they can plant your finger prints at a crime scene.

.

.

posted on 15 Sep 2013, 16:04

46. dvada191 (Posts: 8; Member since: 15 Sep 2013)


Yeah, but they've been able to do that for a while. Do you seriously think that the NSA will now "just" be able to get your fingerprint? Bah.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 14:16

12. saiki4116 (Posts: 388; Member since: 31 Mar 2011)


Accident scans.. ::::::D

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 14:18

13. nhojekim3310 (Posts: 2; Member since: 10 Sep 2013)


First of all, having a fingerprint scanner is very risky. My wife is an IT auditor and told me back then about having fingerprint scanner on laptops were and still are very risky. Now they are putting it on a mobile device…What happens when you lose your phone, where your fingerprint is stored...

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 14:20 4

15. Ninetysix (Posts: 2460; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


Yeah! what happens when you touch ANYTHING where your fingerprint is stored. Does you and your wife wear gloves 24/7 btw? Just curious.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 14:28 3

16. nhojekim3310 (Posts: 2; Member since: 10 Sep 2013)


Wow….another troll.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 15:31

28. E.N. (Posts: 2610; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)


Your fingerprints are stored on the phone itself. If you lose your phone, no one will be able to unlock it without your Apple ID. Also you can remote wipe the data from your iPhone. This doesn\'t seem any more risky/dangerous than it already is now.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 14:18 1

14. PK1983 (Posts: 215; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)


The NSA probably paid Apple a few hundred million of our tax dollars to include this feature.

posted on 15 Sep 2013, 16:03

45. dvada191 (Posts: 8; Member since: 15 Sep 2013)


Why would they? That's a waste of money, considering the fingerprints are stored on the A7 chip itself.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 14:30

17. fervid (Posts: 183; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


Gotta run your stuff through spelling and grammar check Ray. And, in the last paragraph it is past, not passed.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 14:36 4

19. chrisjoel21190 (Posts: 3; Member since: 14 Dec 2012)


People! Don\'t be surprised if you see people with missing fingers all of a sudden, we not only have to worry about getting our phones stolen but thieves tryna chop off our fingers. THANKS A LOT APPLE! :/

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 14:46 1

20. Ninetysix (Posts: 2460; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


You're welcome. What kind of anti-thief measurements do you have setup on your smartphone currently? Let's see if your implementation is any better.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 14:51 1

21. chrisjoel21190 (Posts: 3; Member since: 14 Dec 2012)


Yeah dude, I\'d rather just have my phone stolen and keep all my fingers, but that\'s just me.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 17:13 1

32. rawbow (Posts: 428; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


well they said that the phone would not register dead fingers...so there you go!

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 14:58

22. valapsp (Posts: 557; Member since: 12 Aug 2011)


anyone mentioned the loss of the square in the center of the home button? it's ugly now!

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