One of the biggest features of iPhone 5S is the Touch ID fingerprint scanner. It was rumored a lot prior to the official announcement of this smartphone. Apple has now provided more details about this technology, it also talks about some issues that users might face.
The 170 microns thin Touch ID fingerprint scanner is located inside the home button, which has been fashioned out of sapphire crystal. It doesn’t store actual images of the user’s fingerprint on the device itself, instead it stores “fingerprint data” which is encrypted inside a safe enclave in Apple’s A7 SoC. The data isn’t sent back to Apple’s servers or uploaded to iCloud, according to the company. Theoretically, this means that even if a hacker was able to get into that enclave, chances are that they won’t be able to reverse engineer a fingerprint based on the data obtained.
Even though most iPhone 5S users are now likely to use Touch ID for securing their devices instead of a passcode, Apple has built in a security safeguard to bolster security. Users must create a passcode as a backup before setting up Touch ID, only the passcode will be able to unlock the phone after it has been rebooted or hasn’t been unlocked for 48 hours. Its like that users might face a couple of issues as well, an Apple spokesman told The Wall Street Journal that the scanner won’t be completely “perfect.” The company’s testers have found that sometimes the scanner might not accurately read fingerprints if the fingers are covered in moisture, sweat or lotion. Fingers scarred by some accident or surgery might also be unreadable.
There’s always the option of using another finger, but that might get in the way of the completely natural experience of pressing down on the home button, most users tend to press it with their thumbs. Apple is taking pre-orders for the iPhone 5S, but it will begin shipping the new smartphone in nine markets starting September 20th.