Everything you need to know about Apple's new Touch ID biometric fingerprint authentication
Touch ID is Apple's name for their new biometric fingerprint authentication technology. With it, the Home button can now unlock your iPhone 5s and authorize your purchases on the iTunes Store. In the perpetual battle between security and convenience, where many people would rather go without a passcode or strong password than fuss with anything complicated on mobile, Apple's Touch ID fingerprint identity sensor aims to do for authentication what iCloud did for backup and restore - make it easy enough that people will actually use it.
Touch ID is Apple's fingerprint identity sensor, currently only available on the iPhone 5s. It allows you to unlock your device and make purchases from the iTunes and App Stores by touching and briefly holding your finger against the Home button. When it works, it's magical, and you want it everywhere - your iPad, your car, your house. When it doesn't, you want to throw your iPhone across the room. What can make Touch ID failures even more frustrating is figuring out why they're failing. From the outside it seems like the stereotypical black box. A fingerprint goes in and then it either works or doesn't, and if it doesn't, there's no way for us to see what went wrong, why, or how to fix it. Maddening. There are, however, some things you can do to make it work better and more often...
We already know that the iPhone 5s' Touch ID secures your digital fingerprint by storing it on the Secure Enclave portion of the A7 that's only accessible to the sensor itself. But what if that wasn't the only safeguard Apple took in order to protect your prints? We've taken a closer look at Touch ID and through some collaboration with repair company mendmyi, we've found that Apple actually did take extra precautions, but on a hardware level that we've never seen implemented before. Here are the details!
While a lighter design for the iPad 5 and Retina for the iPad mini 2 are dominating conversation, there are some other new features that could make an appearance in Apple's next-generation tablets, including Touch ID, the fingerprint identify sensor. Of course, Touch ID requires the new Apple A7 chipset and its secure enclave to work, but that's a likely addition anyway, at least to the full-sized iPad. And with the A7 also comes the possibility of the Apple M7 motion-coprocessor. Would that make sense for a tablet? Would any of it? Let's take a look!
Much like OS X began at NeXT and multitouch began with Fingerworks, Touch ID began with a company Apple bought, namely AuthenTec. They did fingerprint identification sensors smarter and better than anyone had done them before, and that got Apple's attention. But what exactly had Apple seen? Well, AuthenTec cofounder F. Scott Moody has just shown off an early prototype. Speaking at North Carolina State University's Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering Tuesday night, he explained exactly how the technology behind Touch ID reads fingerprints, and talked for a bit about how it came about. At one point, Moody showed the audience an early prototype of Touch ID, called FingerLoc. Via AppleInsider:
There was much hype around Apple's fingerprint scanner – given the more consumer friendly Touch ID moniker – but now another smartphone manufacturer has brought the technology to a new device. With the launch of the new – and enormous – HTC One Max, HTC has gone down a different path to Apple and brought some different functionality as well as some similar to Touch ID. Android Central's Alex Dobie:
Yesterday I received an email from a reader who, despite wanting an iPhone 5s, decided she wasn't going to get it after seeing an article about Touch ID being "hacked" and deciding it wasn't safe. I heard from another reader who saw a similar article and so decided to turn of Touch ID. Not replace it with a strong password, mind you, but simply turn it off and go back to nothing. They were by no means the only people who've been confused, misinformed, and ultimately hurt by the incredible nonsense that's passing for technology reporting when it comes to iOS 7 and the iPhone 5s. It's some of the dumbest I've ever seen, and it's in an area that's so important it demands the least amount of dumb journalistically possible. Here's the truth about iOS 7, the iPhone 5s, and Touch ID:
Prior to the launch of the iPhone 5s, I went on record on the iMore Show with my one desire for the then much rumored fingerprint sensor. If it arrived and didn't allow me to buy apps and content from iTunes by touching my finger to it, then I wasn't that interested. Delight then, that Apple took the stage, announced Touch ID, and that we could use it to buy things. Delight, quickly followed by epic frustration.
German hacker collective the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) grabbed headlines after showing a method to fool the iPhone 5s's Touch ID fingerprint scanner, but it's nothing that ordinary people need to worry about too much, according to a security expert, says MacRumors.
Call it a bug, a loophole, or an un-mentioned feature, but Touch ID on the new iPhone 5swill accept more than five fingerprints. How, you ask, when there are only five slots? The video above demonstrates the method, and we've verified that it does indeed work. Scanning five fingers instead of one will register all those fingerprints into just one slot.