iPhone 5S: Touch ID

The iPhone 5S was released to the public on Friday and brought with it a slew of new features: a faster A7 processor with 64-bit support, a redesigned camera and flash, a new dedicated motion co-processor, and more all running on Apple’s new iOS 7. One of the more innovative features of the phone is the addition of the ‘Touch ID’ fingerprint sensor. This sensor, integrated into the home button, hides itself in plain sight.

The Touch ID sensor works similarly to the iPhone’s touch screen by sensing the contact points between your finger and the glass of the home button. However, it does this with much higher precision. The sensor uses this information to create a detailed image of your fingerprint. It then uses an algorithm to create a digital signature based on your print’s unique arches, whirls, and loops. Every time you scan your finger, it verifies its validity against this signature. All of this information is stored in a secure portion of the iPhone 5S’ A7 processor and never uploaded to the cloud. This means that even if your phone were to be lost, stolen, be accessed by other means your data and your fingerprint are secure.

So are fingerprints going to replace tried and true passcode locks for security on mobile devices, or is this just a passing fad? Will competitors and enterprises with high security requirements jump to adopt this new development? Only time will tell…

See Apple’s Touch ID informational video

Apple Touch ID Sensor