Apple reportedly plans on bringing back a more secure Touch ID for the iPhone

Apple reportedly plans on bringing back a more secure Touch ID for the iPhone
To reduce the size of the bottom bezel on 2017's Apple iPhone X, the Touch ID fingerprint scanner was removed and replaced by the Face ID secure facial recognition system. Using structured lighting, a pattern is overlayed on a subject using infrared projectors and cameras note where the pattern is distorted. This depth information allows the TrueDepth Camera to create a 3D map of the user's face in order to verify his or her identity.

The last Apple iPhone models to feature Touch ID were the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Since then, the 2018 and 2019 iPhones have all featured Face ID even though there is a contingent of iPhone users who would prefer to have Touch ID back. And now that appears to be in the cards starting with the 2020 or 2021 iPhones. Back in May, an analyst toiling over at Barclays visited Apple's supply chain and came away from his visit convinced that Apple will employ an in-display, acoustic fingerprint scanner on next year's handsets. The company had received a patent for this technology, which converts audio signals into code representing a user's fingerprints. Acoustic transducers could be placed all around the edge of the screen allowing the user to have his fingerprints read by tapping anywhere on the display.

Today, a report from Taiwan's Economic Daily News (via MacRumors) reveals that Apple plans on meeting with touchscreen manufacturer GIS next week. The agenda is believed to include a discussion about equipping at least one iPhone with an under-display fingerprint scanner as soon as next year. The Touch ID reboot would not use the less secure optical technology used on lower-priced phones. The latter matches 2D images of fingerprints to unlock a handset and verify mobile payment info. Instead, the gang in Cupertino would call on their fair-weather friends in San Diego, Qualcomm. The chipmaker created an ultrasonic biometric reader that uses high-frequency ultrasonic sound to create a 3D image of a user's fingerprints. This is more secure than the optical version; Qualcomm says that its ultrasonic fingerprint scanner has a lag of 250 milliseconds and an error rate of 1%. Both are in line with the capacitive readers that are still widely used today which means that the advantage of using ultrasonic technology is with its enhanced security. 3D images are harder to manipulate and trick than both capacitive and optical scanners.

Apple hopes to include a full-screen ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner with the iPhone as soon as next year


Qualcomm's ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner is currently found on the Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+ along with all of the Galaxy Note 10 models. And there have been complaints from users that the technology is not as smooth as it should be when it comes to unlocking these devices and verifying purchases made using Samsung Pay. Unlike the version found in Sammy's flagship phones which covers a certain portion of the display, Apple is looking to implement a full-screen solution. And with perfect timing, Qualcomm announced today that it has come up with a new in-display scanner that covers 17 times more surface area than the one used by the Galaxy S10.


The ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanners only work on AMOLED displays. But that might not give us a definitive answer about which models are expected to receive this feature since it is expected that the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will all sport OLED panels next year. Apple is planning a major redesign for 2020 with some or all of the new models supporting 5G. With consumers eager to purchase iPhones that can run at speeds up to 10 times faster than 4G, the company hopes to ship 100 million units next year.

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19 Comments

1. torr310

Posts: 1702; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

I still love having a Finger Print Scanner at the front instead of back.

14. sgodsell

Posts: 7581; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Qualcomm showed off today that their ultrasonic scanner can scan more than one finger on the display at a time. Plus they stated that it was 1:2,000,000, or basically it's more secure than Apples current FaceID.

17. tbreezy

Posts: 170; Member since: Aug 11, 2019

We will need to see that in practice. They claimed their current Ultrasonic was secure and yet it was proved to be defeated by certain accessories

2. RevolutionA

Posts: 481; Member since: Sep 30, 2017

Apples gonna put a nail straight into Sammy with this

3. Elvis358

Posts: 266; Member since: Mar 25, 2018

Yeah because Samsung's fingerprint scanners suck. Pretty much.

15. sgodsell

Posts: 7581; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Samsung is using Qualcomms ultrasonic scanner as well. It's just that Qualcomm released a newer version today, and it will allow more than one finger to be scanned simultaneously, and it's even more secure.

4. tedkord

Posts: 17464; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Been hearing that for 10 years now. Maybe one year, you'll be right. But probably not this year by copying what Samsung is already doing.

6. sleepypandaeyes

Posts: 388; Member since: Apr 12, 2015

He probably thinks apple are the innovators of under the display fingerprint tech

8. toukale

Posts: 669; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

Everyone keep saying that and yet 12 years later everyone is still using the iPhone template. Why haven't all those innovators you speak so highly of move us beyond that already? I am ready for it already.

13. cmdacos

Posts: 4325; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

12 years later and everyone is using an iPhone? 15% of 100 is everyone? I get why you use an iPhone now.

10. RevolutionA

Posts: 481; Member since: Sep 30, 2017

I do. Have you guys got it right? NO. Apple will. We don't need have baked cookies. We consume rich stuff. The absolute perfect ones only

12. Vancetastic

Posts: 1761; Member since: May 17, 2017

If you're trying to sound like Donald Trump, you've succeeded. Decent parody, if so.

9. darkkjedii

Posts: 31603; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Blah blah...............blah.

18. XyAzario

Posts: 60; Member since: Mar 15, 2019

Wrong, Samsung employed Qualcomm's fps. Samsung had to take flak for a component that was not 100%

5. CEDEOTB

Posts: 461; Member since: Nov 21, 2016

They realized everyone is going bezel less with smaller cutouts and now they have to play catch up as usual. Not surprised.

16. midan

Posts: 3121; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

They won't take Face ID out of the phone if you thought that.

7. drunkenjay

Posts: 1701; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

As long as it works with Glass screen protectors, im down for it.

11. Tizo101

Posts: 598; Member since: Jun 05, 2015

Acoustic? You guys are plain stupid at this point... If it uses sound then it's sonic or ultrasound (acoustic means something else)

19. Poptart2828

Posts: 463; Member since: Jan 23, 2018

If this story was about this tech being tied to one of the true innovating companies like Huawei, xiaomi or any of the BBK brands then yes, it would be a more believable achievement coming next year. Yet we are talking about a company that plays it safe every day of the week like that old sports anomaly podcast used to say. This tech is happening but not from Apple. Maybe years in the future after Android has played it out.

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