One of the headlining features of the iPhone 5S is its fingerprint scanner, called Touch ID, and how it can be used to not only unlock the iPhone but also to authenticate purchases from iTunes and App Store. Since the unveiling, many have raised concerns about how accurate it would be as well as privacy concerns about Apple storing users’ fingerprint information and linking it to the Apple IDs. Apple has now provided some clarifications about how it works and how Apple handles the information.
Fingerprint scanners in electronic gadgets have been around for almost a decade, especially in laptops that had a scanner on the trackpad that could be used to log into the machine. It is not the first time to have been implemented on a smartphone either. However, like everything Apple, it has made it effortless to use the fingerprint scanner and users can place their finger in any orientation and it will be recognized. Users can also store fingerprint ids of multiple fingers on the same phone. However, Apple admits that it faces some difficulties to recognize sweaty or fingers loaded with moisture from lotions or other liquids.
After iPhone users were targeted by thieves in mugging incidents across the world, some users also raised concerns whether now thieves will also chop their fingers to unlock their phones! (It has since become a popular online meme.) It has been confirmed that the system won’t recognize a dead finger or one that has been chopped off.
Apple has also clarified that the fingerprint details would be saved inside the A7 chipset on the phone in an encrypted format. It won’t be saved online on Apple’s server. Users will need to set a passcode before they can start using Touch ID. Users will have to use the passcode to unlock the phone if the device is rebooted or is not used for 48 hours. Apple’s official video explaining Touch ID follows.