If you skipped the iPhone 14 hoping the iPhone 15 would feature a much-requested security feature, prepare to be disappointed.
Touch ID for iPhone 15? Forget it, says Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, known for having a decent track record when it comes to Apple tech rumors. As David Phelan reports for Forbes , Gurman’s latest subscriber-only “Power On” newsletter reveals that Apple is testing “on-screen” Touch ID apps for the iPhone. That’s the good news. The downside is that he doesn’t think it will come to the iPhone 15 or any other high-end iPhone “in the foreseeable future.” That’s a shame, especially if you’ve been holding off on buying the iPhone 14 series, hoping to see fingerprint and facial recognition on the iPhone 15.
It’s a shame all around if you ask me.
Which is better, Apple’s iPhone Face ID or Touch ID?
OK, Face ID can be a pain in the dark, but that’s the only time I’ve found it doesn’t work the first time. I’m a chronic insomniac, awake at 2am most nights (or mornings) and when I’m in bed in the dark so I don’t wake my partner it will generally fail and ask me to sit and hold the device for a bit closer or further before you let me in. Touch ID isn’t perfect either, as wet or sweaty fingers cause it to fail. And wearing gloves, duh. Now you might say that last one is a bit obvious. However, Face ID works fine with my mask on (yes, I still do when I’m in an Uber or indoors other than my home as I have health issues) or with my glasses on or off, even when wearing both glasses and my biggest eye covering the entire quadrant of my face. That’s both good and bad if you ask me. Great that it lets me access my iPhone 14 Pro, but not so great that it’s not too picky about how I look.
The point is that there are good and bad things to be said for both biometric systems. So, as the popular meme goes, why not both?
Hey Apple, why not both?
I mean, it really should be a no-brainer for Apple and it doesn’t need to add much to the cost. After all, there is a Touch ID designed with a power button on other Apple products, which would be perfectly acceptable to most people. I don’t see the need to incur the extra cost and technical issues associated with an under-display fingerprint reader. a power button solution is convenient and cool.
Apple already has proven Touch ID technology, so why not put it to good use. Top-of-the-line iPhones are pretty expensive, and it would be nice to be given a little extra bang for your buck.
So, considering all of the above, I say again: why not both?
Two biometric authentication systems are better than one
From a pure privacy and security perspective, there are strands to the argument that two biometric authentication systems are better than one. Requiring both could add value to applications where this extra layer of authentication helps keep data locked down. Yes, there is also the flip side of two authentication methods providing twice the attack surface for a would-be threat actor or FBI agent.
But at the end of the day, there’s already another part of that attack surface, the PIN that’s required no matter which biometric option you choose. Which you need to enter after restarting your iPhone or two if you also have a SIM lock PIN. A quick tip while I’m here, an iOS PIN doesn’t have to be just a low security four digit. You can choose a custom numeric code (to create a much longer PIN in effect) or an alphanumeric one. The latter takes longer to enter on a phone keypad, but a long PIN is probably good enough for most people. Don’t make it your birthday, an obvious anniversary or anything like that!
Apple’s flagship iPhones lag behind their Android counterparts
Back to the biometrics battle, and as someone who moved from iPhone to Android devices and then back again after the longest time, I can’t help but think that Apple is losing here. There is no shortage of Android phones with face and fingerprint recognition. From the latest Google Pixel 7 to OnePlus and Samsung Galaxy devices, just to name the tip of this iceberg. I don’t want to go down the route of the phone wars, which accomplish nothing, and there are plenty of copycat Apple from Google and vice versa articles to be found on the internet. This isn’t one of them, but I wish Apple would take a leaf from the Android device playbook here and give users the choice of both systems.
My gut tells me that, being Apple, Touch ID will return at some point. That point is likely when it has developed some clever new way to integrate a fingerprint scanner into the phone’s frame, for example, so it can be sold as a technological advance and another reason to upgrade. For me though, any fingerprint reader would do, even if it was under the Apple logo on the back of the iPhone, which I would find cumbersome.
So come on, Apple: Why. Not. Both?
What do you think; Are you hoping to see Touch ID return to the iPhone at some point? Let me know in the comments.