Smartphone fingerprint scanners – what else should they be used for?
The Touch ID fingerprint scanner is one of the many cool features built into the iPhone 5s. It can be used instead of a lock screen PIN, as well as a substitute for the user's iTunes password. And from the looks of it, Apple's smartphone surely won't be the last handset to offer the perk – HTC just announced its One Max phablet, and as expected, the handset is equipped with a fingerprint scanner on its back. Again, it can be set to replace one's lock screen pattern, or to launch the user's favorite apps. Yet strangely, that's pretty much all that the fingerprint scanners on these smartphones are used for, even though we can see them being useful in other scenarios as well. Allow us to explain what we have in mind.
Imagine this: your friend or family member asks you to let them borrow your phone for a second. So you use your fingerprint ID to unlock your phone and give it to them, even though you might still have stuff on there that you wouldn't want anyone else to access – text messages, video games, naughty selfies, you name it. That's why having the option to lock specific apps, folders, or system features would be nice.
This one would be practical for users who share a device with someone else and have multiple accounts set up – an Android tablet, for example. Switching back and forth using a fingerprint ID should be more convenient than having to enter a password or a pattern each time.
Lost or stolen smartphones can be tracked using the right software – apple has "Find My iPhone" while Google uses its Android device manager. However, these won't work if the device goes offline - if it is not connected to the internet or if it has been turned off completely. That's why requiring fingerprint authorization prior to switching off a handset doesn't sound like a bad idea, does it?
There's no doubt about it – security is of utmost importance when you're handling money over the internet. A fingerprint ID would't be enough to completely replace your online banking password, but it could serve as a reliable second layer of protection, just in case someone decides to buy a car on eBay from your phone.
LOL jk, but imagine how awesome it would be if your phone could tell you what the future holds just by reading your palm with its scanner. Alas, that kind of tech is still something we can only wish for.