As rumors had suggested, Apple has indeed embedded a fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5S’ Home button. Apple calls it the “Touch ID” sensor, which is a capacitive sensor that can scan your sub-epidermal skin layers.
The capacitive sensor is 170 microns thin, has a 500 ppi resolution and has 360 degree readability, that is, it works in any orientation. It is built right into the home button, which is made out of sapphire so that the constant finger-swiping doesn’t result in scratches.
- If you’ve followed rumors, then you know that there was some buzz about a silver ring around the iPhone 5S home button. Turns out, the ring actually helps in detecting when a finger is being swiped, and only then does it turns on the Touch ID sensor.
- The key function of the home button is to act as a replacement for passcodes, which many people find annoying to use. After setting up your iPhone with your fingerprints, you can simply touch the home button to unlock your phone, which is much quicker than pressing the home button, sliding to unlock, and keying in your passcode. Even with the easy of use, Touch 1D remains as safe, arguably even safer to use than the traditional passcode-based security.
- Of course, given that your iPhone now has the capability to identify and authenticate you, you can now simply scan your finger instead of typing in iTunes passwords when purchasing apps or other iTunes content.
- As for how the fingerprints are stored inside the device, Apple says everything is done in an encrypted fashion and “secured inside a secure enclave.” The fingerprint isn’t available to third-party apps, nor is it sent to Apple’s servers nor is it backed up to iCloud.
Here’s Apple’s video for the Touch ID sensor (We’ll update with a better quality video once it’s available):