Apple granted another patent for under-display Touch ID on iPhone

iPhone with Touch ID
iPhone with Touch ID (Image credit: iMore)

Apple Under Display Fingerprint Patent

Apple Under Display Fingerprint Patent (Image credit: USPTO / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple has been granted another patent for an under-display fingerprint scanner.
  • It has been rumored for sometime that Apple will one day bring Touch ID back to the iPhone.
  • The latest patent allows transmission of reflected light rays through the display to the sensor.

Apple has been granted another patent pertaining to an under-display fingerprint scanner that could one day debut in the iPhone.

The patent, published Tuesday by the USPTO and filed for by Apple in September 2019, is titled 'Under-display fingerprint sensing based on off-axis angular light' and its abstract states:

An apparatus for touch-sensing includes a light-emitting layer covered by a transparent layer and configured to illuminate a surface touching the transparent layer and to allow transmission of reflected light rays from the surface to underlying layers. The underlying layers include an optical coupling layer, a collimator layer and a pixelated image sensor. The optical coupling layer bends the reflected light rays to create oblique light rays. The collimator layer includes a number of apertures to collimate the received light rays. The pixelated image sensor senses the collimated oblique light rays.

That's a very complicated way of confirming that Apple continues to explore the use of an under-display Touch ID sensor that could one day be featured on the iPhone. We were previously led to believe at one point that Apple's best iPhone, the iPhone 13, would include the feature, or that this year's iPhone 14 might be the first to get the tech. Ming-Chi Kuo reported in September the feature might not be coming until next year.

Apple's patent says that such a feature would be "particularly advantageous for verification and/or authentication in an electronic device." As with all patents, the usual caveat that the idea on paper does not guarantee this feature will ever see the light of day in an Apple product applies.

Apple has managed to bring back Touch ID to its best iPad, the iPad Air through an innovative fingerprint sensor on the top button that controls the Lock Screen and power for the device. The new device was announced at Apple's March event and is on sale now.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9