Apple has been trying to ditch Touch ID in favor of its hands-free Face ID system for the past few years. However, the company is pulling back with its latest product, an iPad Air with a Touch ID power button. And since wearing masks continues to affect facial recognition, Apple needs to bring its new fingerprint sensor to the upcoming iPhone.
7;t the iPhone X or 11 have a fingerprint sensor?
Touch ID is one of the many victims of the iPhone X. The iPhone X was Apple’s first product to omit the home button for full screen viewing, and one of the first smartphones (if not the only smartphone) to offer a reliable, introduced usable face scanner for device security.
Apple could have added a fingerprint sensor to the back or side of the iPhone X, but why bother? Face recognition is more secure than a fingerprint scanner and won’t be sabotaged by wet or dirty digits. It works even if you wear gloves, and many disabled people find facial recognition more accessible than a tactile fingerprint scanner.
Unfortunately, face detection won’t work if your face is covered by a mask – something very few were concerned about in 2017. While Android users can use their fingerprint sensor (or iris scanner) to quickly unlock their phone at the grocery store, iPhone users will have to re-enter a PIN like 2010.
We may have a COVID-19 vaccine sometime in 2021, but we cannot go back to the “old normal” that led to facial recognition. Many Americans (myself included) are interested in using masks when they have a cold or flu, or when they attend large events where germs can spread easily. And if the iPhone 12 doesn’t offer Touch ID besides Face ID, many Apple customers will fumble around in public just to unlock their premium devices.
Let’s face it, Face ID was never enough
It’s time for an hour of honesty. Even without a global pandemic that spreads through all conceivable carriers of the disease, the iPhone needs a fingerprint sensor. Face ID is a formidable system, but it doesn’t work at all angles and is not preferred by all users. Adding a Touch ID power button to the existing Face ID system would immediately make the iPhone a more user-friendly, universal device.
Unlike Android phones, which use your selfie camera for simple “face unlock” systems, iPhones use an IR blaster to “see” your face in 3D. Because of this, iPhones can quickly spot your face in almost any angle in any lighting condition. However, in some everyday situations, you are out of Face ID’s field of view. Using facial recognition while your phone is open on a table or in a stand is a minor nuisance. Unlocking your phone for someone in your car can take your eyes off the road or reveal your passcode.
A Touch ID sensor would solve these little problems right away and appeal to people who prefer fingerprint sensors over facial recognition systems. And while Touch ID feels like an odd “step backwards” to Apple, customers don’t think so! Critics and Apple fans regularly praise the $ 400 iPhone SE for using Touch ID, barely mentioning that the phone lacks Face ID. The iPhone SE’s successful use of Touch ID may even have influenced Apple’s newest product, 4th generation iPad Air.
Is the iPad Air an indication of what’s to come?
As mentioned earlier in this article, the new iPad Air features the full-screen design of Apple’s iPad Pro and iPhone. There’s no home button, but it skips Face ID as well. Apple’s solution for the new iPad Air is a Touch ID power button, which for Apple is cheap, easy to use and more attractive than an unreliable fingerprint reader under the display or a design-offending sensor on the back.
This Touch ID sensor would work perfectly on the iPhone 12 and now would be the perfect time to implement it. Not only are we in the middle of a pandemic, but wearing masks could become more common in the future. Also, Face ID has problems and annoyances that a Touch ID sensor would solve. If the COVID-19 virus goes away tomorrow, adding Touch ID to the new iPhone is still a good idea.
We won’t know if the iPhone 12 will have a Touch ID sensor until Apple’s iPhone event is rumored to be October 13th. And while some reporters and leaks have early access to metal dummy models of the iPhone 12, we can’t use those models to determine if the iPhone 12 has a Touch ID power button. But hey, we’ll remind you to watch the event as soon as the details become available! 😉