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Touch ID is an electronic fingerprint recognition feature designed and released by
Apple Inc. Apple Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, ...
that allows users to unlock devices, make purchases in the various Apple digital media stores (
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iTunes Store
,
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App Store
, and
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), and authenticate
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online or in apps. It can also be used to lock and unlock password-protected
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on iPhone and iPad. Touch ID was first introduced in
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iPhone
s with 2013's
iPhone 5S The iPhone 5S (stylized and marketed as iPhone 5s) is a smartphone A smartphone is a portable device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of a ...

iPhone 5S
, In 2015, Apple introduced a faster second-generation Touch ID in the
iPhone 6S The iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus (stylized and marketed as iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus) are smartphones that were designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. Apple Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Mu ...
; a year later in 2016, it made its laptop debut in the
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MacBook Pro
integrated on the right side of the
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. Touch ID has been used on all
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iPad
s since the
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iPad Air 2
was introduced in 2014. In MacBooks, each user account can have up to three fingerprints, and a total of five fingerprints across the system. Fingerprint information is stored locally in a secure enclave on the
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and later chips, not in the
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cloud
, a design choice intended to make it impossible for users or malicious attackers to externally access the fingerprint information. Apple retained Touch ID on
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iPhone 8
, 2nd-generation iPhone SE, and the base model iPads, while all iPhones since the
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iPhone X
in 2017, and the higher-end
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iPad Pro
adopted
Face ID Face ID is a facial recognition system designed and developed by Apple Inc. for the iPhone and iPad Pro. The system allows Biometrics, biometric authentication for unlocking a device, making Apple Pay, payments, accessing sensitive data, providing ...
recognition. The 4th-generation iPad Air and the 6th-generation iPad Mini incorporates a Touch ID sensor on the sleep/wake button. In 2021, Apple unveiled a new line of
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that can be configured with Touch ID on the Magic Keyboard.


History

In 2012, Apple acquired AuthenTec, a company focused on fingerprint reading and identification management software, for $356 million. The acquisition led commentators to expect a fingerprint reading feature. Following leaks and speculation in early September, the iPhone 5S was unveiled on September 10, 2013, and was the first phone on a major US carrier to feature the technology. Apple's
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Vice President
of Marketing,
Phil Schiller Philip W. Schiller (born June 8, 1960) is an Apple Fellow at Apple Inc. Apple Inc. is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California, that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer s ...
, announced the feature at Apple's iPhone media event and spent several minutes (the major portion of the conference) discussing the feature. Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um predicted on September 4, 2013, that a fingerprint sensor in the
iPhone 5S The iPhone 5S (stylized and marketed as iPhone 5s) is a smartphone A smartphone is a portable device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of a ...

iPhone 5S
would help
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and boost adoption in the corporate environment. "As consumers increasingly rely on mobile devices to transact and store personal data, a reliable device-side authentication solution may become a necessity," Um said. With the unveiling of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus at a keynote event on September 9, 2014, Touch ID was expanded from being used to unlock the device and authenticating App Store purchases to also authenticating Apple Pay. The
iPhone 6S The iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus (stylized and marketed as iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus) are smartphones that were designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. Apple Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Mu ...
incorporates a second-generation Touch ID sensor that is up to twice as fast as the first-generation sensor found in the 5S, 6, and SE (1st generation) phones. As of September 2020, the iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, SE (2nd generation), 2016-2020 MacBook Pro, 2018-2020
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MacBook Air
, iPad Pro 10.5" and 12.9" (2nd generation),
iPad Air (2020) The iPad Air (4th generation), informally referred to as iPad Air 4, is a tablet computer A tablet computer, commonly shortened to tablet, is a mobile device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a ma ...
, and iPad Mini (2021) are the Apple devices which use the second generation sensor. The new Touch ID unlocks almost instantly and posed an issue as it unlocks too fast to read notifications on the lock screen. This is remedied with the
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update in which a user must press the home button to have the home screen appear. This, however, can be changed in iOS settings so that users can go directly to the home screen after resting their finger on the sensor, similar to previous versions of iOS. Solely placing a finger on the sensor will only unlock the iPhone unless said setting is enabled, and no notifications are currently being displayed on the lock screen.


Generations


Hardware

Touch ID is built into the home button, which is built of
laser A laser is a device that emits light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visual perception, perceived by the human eye. Visible light is usually defined as h ...

laser
-cut sapphire crystal, and does not scratch easily (scratching would prevent Touch ID from working). It features a stainless steel detection ring to detect the user's finger without pressing it. There is no longer a rounded square icon in the home button, nor is it concave. The sensor uses capacitive touch to detect the user's fingerprint. The sensor has a thickness of 170  µm, with 500 pixels per inch resolution. The user's finger can be oriented in any direction and it will still be read. Apple says it can read sub-epidermal skin layers, and it will be easy to set up and will improve with every use. The sensor passes a small current through one's finger to create a "fingerprint map" of the user's dermis. Up to 5 fingerprint maps can be stored in the Secure Enclave.


Security and privacy

Touch ID can be bypassed using passcodes set up by the user. Fingerprint data is stored on the secure enclave inside the
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, A8, A8X, A9, ,
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, , , , A13, processors of an iOS device, or the T1, T2 and in the case of Macs, and not on Apple servers, nor on iCloud. From the Efficient Texture Comparison patent covering Apple's Touch ID technology:
In order to overcome potential security drawbacks, Apple's invention includes a process of collapsing the full maps into a sort of
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checksum
, hash function, or
histogram A histogram is an approximate representation of the distribution of numerical data. It was first introduced by Karl Pearson Karl Pearson (; born Carl Pearson; 27 March 1857 – 27 April 1936) was an English mathematician A mathematician i ...

histogram
. For example, each encrypted ridge map template can have some lower resolution pattern computed and associated with the ridge map. One exemplary pattern could be a histogram of, e.g., the most common angles (e.g., a 2 dimensional (2D) array of common angles). The exemplary pattern could include in each slot an average value over a respective vector of the map. The exemplary pattern could include in each slot a sum of the values over a respective vector of the map. The exemplary pattern could include the smallest or largest value within a respective vector of the map or could be a difference between a largest and a smallest value within the respective vector of the map. Numerous other exemplary embodiments are also possible, and any other exemplary pattern calculation can be used, where the exemplary pattern includes enough associated information to narrow the candidate list, while omitting enough associated information that the unsecured pattern cannot or cannot easily be reverse engineered into a matching texture.
If the user's phone has been rebooted, has not been unlocked for 48 hours, has its SIM card removed or has Emergency SOS activated, only the passcode a user has created, not their fingerprint, can be used to unlock the device or during other specific use cases. In September 2013, the German
Chaos Computer Club The Chaos Computer Club (CCC) is Europe's largest association of hackers with registered members. Founded in 1981, the association is incorporated as an '' eingetragener Verein'' in Germany, with local chapters (called ') in various cities in ...
announced that it had bypassed Apple's Touch ID security. A spokesman for the group stated: "We hope that this finally puts to rest the illusions people have about fingerprint biometrics. It is plain pity to use something that you can't change and that you leave everywhere every day as a security token." Similar results have been achieved by using to take a cast of the finger. Others have also used Chaos Computer Club's method but concluded that it is not an easy process in either time or effort, given that the user has to use a high resolution photocopy of a complete fingerprint, special chemicals, and expensive equipment and because the spoofing process takes some time to achieve.


Impact

In a 2013 ''
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'' magazine opinion piece, Kevin Roose argued that consumers are generally not interested in fingerprint recognition, preferring to use passcodes instead. Traditionally, he wrote, only businesspeople used biometric recognition, although they believe Touch ID may help bring fingerprint recognition to the masses. Roose stated the feature will also allow application developers to experiment, should Apple open up access to Touch ID later on (which they have done), but that those wary of surveillance agencies such as the US
National Security Agency The National Security Agency (NSA) is a national-level intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense, under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). The NSA is responsible for global monitoring, collection, ...

National Security Agency
may still choose not to use Touch ID. Roose also noted that fingerprint technology still has some issues, such as the potential to be hacked, or of the device's not recognizing the fingerprint (for example, when the finger has been injured). Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, writing for
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, said Touch ID could be useful in
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situations. He said the biometric protection adds another layer of security, removing the ability of people to look over others' shoulders and read their passcode/password. He added that Touch ID would prevent children from racking up thousands of dollars in unwanted purchases when using iPhones owned by adults. He observed that Touch ID was Apple's response to the large number of iPhone crimes, and that the new feature would deter would-be iPhone thieves. Moreover, he notes that the feature is one of the few that distinguish the iPhone 5S from the 5C. Roose also stated the feature is intended to deter theft. However, Brent Kennedy, a vulnerability analyst at the
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, expressed concern that Touch ID could be hacked and suggested that people not rely on it right away. ''Forbes'' noted a history of fingerprints being spoofed in the past, and cautioned that the fingerprints on a stolen iPhone might be used to gain unauthorized access. However, the article did say that biometrics technology had improved since tests on spoofing fingerprint readers had been conducted. Kingsley-Hughes suggested the Touch ID as a form of
two-factor authentication Multi-factor authentication (MFA; encompassing authentication, or 2FA, along with similar terms) is an electronic authentication method in which a user is granted access to a website or application only after successfully presenting two or more ...
, combining something one ''knows'' (the password) with "something you are" (the fingerprint). ''Forbes'' said that, if two-factor authentication is available, it will be an overall improvement for security. ''Forbes'' columnist Andy Greenberg said the fact that fingerprint data was stored on the local device and not in a centralized database was a win for security.


See also

*
Face ID Face ID is a facial recognition system designed and developed by Apple Inc. for the iPhone and iPad Pro. The system allows Biometrics, biometric authentication for unlocking a device, making Apple Pay, payments, accessing sensitive data, providing ...


References


External links

* – official site * – official site * – official site {{iOS Authentication methods Fingerprints IOS