Apple ditches fingerprint sensors on upcoming iPhones, pushes hard on Face ID through masks
Several published reports say that Apple has abandoned previously announced plans to fit an under-display fingerprint biometric scanner in the iPhone. Face ID for masks, however, appears to be a go for iOS 15.4.
No one has succeeded in getting anyone anywhere to talk on the record about the changes being installed in the latest iOS 15.4 public betas in the field now.
For the most security conscious iPhone owners, it is disappointing news. Two biometric sensors could make access to an iPhone significantly more secure.
It might be encouraging for others, however. Apple had been trying to get an under-display print sensor in a phone for some time without apparent success. Moving on from what some considered a tricky and redundant feature should speed development of iOS.
Apple had prized that redundancy. It was seen as another layer of protection in the face of biometric presentation attacks that the company admitted was a vulnerability.
It could show up a future phone (or watch, laptop, keyboard, remote or car), but according to iDrop News, Apple last month starting moving all the fingerprint people and resources to Face ID.
It would seem the biometric focus now is on the face, giving devices the ability to unlock an iPhone even if the owner is wearing a mask.
Putting the Face ID sensors under the glass is another priority, iDrop News has reported. Apple patented this approach last year.
Of course, it would not be an Apple feature — even a rumored one — without some carping from fanboys.
In this case, iMore has reported that people would have to actually look at the iPhone’s face to unlock it with periocular biometrics. Right now, the newer phones’ default is set so that the biometric system verifies the face from even relatively oblique angles.
These phones, however, can also be set to always require the owner’s attention — taking a second to look directly at the camera. The current iOS 15.4 beta 3 would require mask wearers to give their attention to their phones.