Enhanced under-display Touch ID for future iPhone revealed in patent

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What you need to know

  • A new Apple patent has revealed how Apple could one day include an enhanced under-display fingerprint sensor in the iPhone.

A new Apple patent has revealed how Apple could one day include Touch ID under the display of the iPhone.


An apparatus for fingerprint sensing includes a light-emitting layer, an optical layer, a filter layer and a pixelated image sensor. The light-emitting layer is covered by a transparent layer, and can illuminate a surface touching the transparent layer and allows transmission of reflected light from the surface to the optical layer. The optical layer includes a plurality of optical elements. The filter layer includes a number of apertures and spatially processes the reflected light. The pixelated image sensor can sense the spatially processed light. At least one of the optical layer or the filter layer enables an angle-focused FOV filtering of the reflected light.

The basic premise is obvious, an under-display fingerprint sensor could one day be used in the iPhone to integrate Touch ID underneath the display, perhaps signaling a return of the much-loved feature to Apple's flagship smartphone. This patent reveals how the Touch ID sensor could use narrow field-of-view filtering to improve the accuracy and detection of the sensor.

Just yesterday it emerged that Apple was asking iPhone users about their preference between Touch ID and Face ID, hinting the company may be considering returning the feature to the iPhone. There is always the possibility Apple could include Touch ID embedded in the iPhone's power/lock button, as it did with the iPad Air this year.

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