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Report suggests no Touch ID biometrics for the Apple iPhone 15 in 2023 | #ios | #apple | #iossecurity | #hacking | #aihp

If you skipped the iPhone 14 hoping the iPhone 15 would feature one often asked-for security feature, prepare to be disappointed.

Touch ID for iPhone 15? Forget it, says Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, well known for having a decent track record regarding Apple tech rumors. As David Phelan reports for Forbes, Gurman’s latest subscriber-only ‘Power On’ newsletter reveals that Apple has been testing ‘in-screen’ Touch ID implementations for the iPhone. That’s the good news. The bad is that he doesn’t think it will be coming to the iPhone 15 or any other high-end iPhone ‘in the foreseeable future.’ This is a shame, primarily if you have held off on buying into 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 best, 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 have found it not to work first time. I’m a chronic non-sleeper, awake at 2 am most nights (or mornings), and when in bed in the dark, so as not to wake my partner, it will generally fail and require me to sit up and hold the device a little closer or further away before letting me in. Touch ID isn’t perfect either, with wet or sweaty fingers causing it to fail. And wearing gloves, duh. Now you may say the latter is a bit obvious. However, Face ID works just fine if I’m wearing my facemask (yes, I still do when in an Uber or an inside space other than my home, as I have health issues) or with my glasses on or off, and even when wearing both spectacle and my biggest eyepatch which covers an entire quadrant of my face. This is both good and bad if you ask me. Great that it lets me access my iPhone 14 Pro, but not so great that it isn’t too picky about what I look like.

The point being there are good and bad things to be said about both biometric systems. So, as the popular meme says, why not both?

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Hey, Apple, why not both?

I mean, it really should be a no-brainer for Apple and need not add much to the cost either. After all, there’s a power-button-designed Touch ID on other Apple products, which would be perfectly acceptable to most people. I don’t see the need to run to the extra cost and technical issues involved with an under-screen fingerprint reader; a power button solution is convenient and cool.

Apple already has Touch ID technology that is proven, so why not damn well use it. Top-end iPhones are expensive enough, and it would be nice to be given a little extra gravy for your money.

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 legs to be had on the argument that two biometric authentication systems are better than one. Requiring both could add value to applications where this extra authentication layer helps keep data locked down. Yes, there’s also the flipside of two authentication methods providing double the attack surface for a would-be threat actor, or FBI agent, to go after.

But at the end of the day, there’s already another part of that attack surface, the PIN that’s required whatever biometric option you choose. The one you must enter after restarting your iPhone, or two if you also have a SIM lock PIN. A quick hint while I’m here, an iOS PIN doesn’t have to be just a low-security four-digit one. You can choose a custom numeric code (to create a much longer PIN in effect) or an alphanumeric one. The latter takes more time to enter on a phone keyboard, but a long PIN is probably good enough for most people. Please don’t make it your birthday, an obvious anniversary, or anything like that!

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Apple’s iPhone flagships lag behind Android equivalents

Back to the biometrics battle, and, as someone who moved from iPhone to Android handsets and then back again after the longest time, I can’t help but think Apple is missing out here. There is no shortage of Android phones with both facial and fingerprint recognition. From the latest Google Pixel 7’s to OnePlus and Samsung Galaxy devices, to name but the tip of this iceberg. I don’t want to go down the route of phone wars, which accomplish nothing, and there are plenty of Apple copies Google, and vice-versa articles to be found online. This isn’t one of them, but I wish Apple would take a leaf out of the Android device playbook here and give users the option 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 of incorporating a fingerprint scanner in the phone 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’d find cumbersome.

So, come on, Apple: Why. Not. Both?

What do you think? Are you hoping to see Touch ID come back to the iPhone at some point? Let me know in the comments.

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