Google, Apple announce biometric security upgrades for operating systems

Plenty of exciting security upgrades are expected this year for both Android and iOS. As Google is introducing upgraded biometrics support for electronic IDs and updates APIs for 5G connectivity, Apple is adding biometric security layers for its budget SE2 planned for launch this year, and many other security features for its high-end phones.

Google has released an early bird developer preview of Android 11, its next operating system for Pixel phones, which introduces a couple of key updates, writes 9 to 5 Google. The first feature involves an API update that allows apps to choose their internet connection, including 5G connectivity. According to Google, developers can “extend [their] Wi-Fi app experiences to mobile users.” It will leverage an improved connectivity stack and support low latency video codecs.

To strengthen privacy and security, Android 11 will benefit from enhanced biometrics, along with for electronic ID or driver’s license, according to the report. The new version also features platform hardening, secure app data storage, sharing features and one-time permissions. The OS will have a new permissions module that “standardizes user and developer access to critical privacy controls on Android devices.”

The Platform Stability announced for July will have final SDK/NDK APIs, internal APIs, and system behaviors.

The release came out earlier than in previous years, when a preview was available in the second week of March for developers to review the OS and provide feedback. Android 11 will not go directly to beta, because Developer Preview 1 was mainly released for developers. Future releases could introduce more functionality, as the public launch is planned for Q3 2020.

Apple adds FIDO-compliant biometric security layers

Google is not the only company stepping up OS security. According to Forbes, rumors say Apple is releasing its new biometrically-secured budget phone at the end of March.

Not only will Apple SE2/iPhone 9 have a great price, but it will come with FIDO-compliant biometric security layers. The low-end iPhone will be similar to the iPhone 8 in size so it will have the Touch ID fingerprint reader for biometric authentication and the home button. Apple will integrate both Touch ID and Face ID for the other iPhone models expected to launch this year.

Apple’s iOS 13 will come with a number of enhanced security and privacy capabilities such as giving users the power to control the amount of data apps can collect.

Forbes claims a possible update expected to be announced at the March event is the ability to use the iPhone or Apple Watch as a biometrically-secured car key.

This month Apple became the newest member of the FIDO Alliance. iPhones can now also be used as security keys to access Google services through a secure enclave.

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