Apple’s iPhone 13 is launching in a matter of weeks, with a bunch of cool new features. But it’s now almost certain that the iPhone is lacking one crucial feature beloved of many Apple fans—Touch ID.
That’s according to reliable Apple commentator, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who says in his Power On newsletter that the iPhone 13 will definitely not include Touch ID. This is because the iPhone maker has a long term goal to include an under-display Face ID sensor.
“While Apple had tested in-screen Touch ID for the next flagship iPhones, it won’t make the cut this year,” Gurman writes. “I believe Apple is all-in on Face ID for its higher-end iPhones and its long-term goal is to implement Face ID in the display itself.”
With people still wearing masks that make it annoying to quickly open their iPhones when out and about, many Apple users had been hoping for the return of the Touch ID fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 13. Hopes were raised further by several reports this year that Apple had been testing Touch ID technology that would allow the iPhone maker to place a sensor under the display, rather than on the home button.
Touch ID is currently available on some iPads and lower end iPhones such as the SE, but the flagship phones currently boast Face ID only. The iPhone 13 is likely to feature a smaller notch, which will please some Apple fans.
And there are some security benefits gained by having Face ID instead of Touch ID, says Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET.
“Face ID only allows one person to access an unlocked iPhone, whereas Touch ID enables up to five fingerprints—so more than one person could potentially have access to the device. Every extra person you give access to reduces the iPhone’s privacy and security dramatically.”
Moore also warns Apple users to be careful when unlocking their iPhone in public using a passcode. “People should remain extremely aware of their surroundings when typing in their passcodes and make sure people do not see the code being typed in.”
Touch ID or Face ID — what will future iPhones look like?
Face ID is a priority for Apple—the feature could be expanding out from iPhones to Macs and all iPads in the near future, according to patents recently granted to the iPhone maker.
In the future, Bloomberg’s Gurman gives thinks top end iPhones may have in-screen Face ID and lower end phones will include the face scanning tech in the notch. The other possibility is that high end iPhones get in-screen Face ID and the lower end devices get in-screen Touch ID. That’s when deciding which iPhone to get might become difficult.
Although not if another new report is believed. Another reliable Apple leaker Jon Prosser has just revealed that the iPhone maker is testing Face ID while people are wearing masks.
Currently, people can more quickly open their iPhone wearing a mask with their Apple Watch, but Apple introduced this software update—rather than hardware—as a short term solution.
So the lack of crucial Touch ID on the 2021 iPhones is not surprising. Apple works on its technology long in advance, and the iPhone maker had probably assumed a year ago that people won’t be wearing masks forever. Of course, even if we are wearing masks in 2022, Face ID could be improving enough to remove the need for Touch ID anyway.