Everything you need to know about iPhone 5S’ Touch ID fingerprint sensor


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):

Tell us what you think about the new Touch ID sensor in the iPhone 5S in the comments below. Is it good enough to be the flagship feature?

[Images via The Verge]

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Categories: iPhone 5s, Touch ID

  • sattar

    soooo cooooool

  • niu

    so the home button can be pressed or its just touch button?

    • http://rounak.me/ Rounak Jain

      touch seems to be only for scanning fingerprint, home would work as is right now

  • -X-

    Sooooo not coooool….world wants iPhone with a bigger screen. Because with just a finger print scan….big friggin’ whoop. Get with the program apple. It’s not about what you think the world wants and needs and not gonna wait for the i6 just for a bigger screen.

    • Zangpakto

      Everyone mocked apple for a touchscreen phone in the beginning or the iPad… They thought the world needed it and everyone disagreed and said wont work, and yet a good few years down the line, touchscreen smartphones are everywhere and so are tablets.

      Bigger is not always better.

  • @dickfast

    So if I’m at an app purchase screen and I don’t want to authorize the purchase how am I supposed to exit without purchasing the app by pressing the home button.

    • http://rounak.me/ Rounak Jain

      lol, get some one else to press the home button :P

      • Sebastian Rasch

        Or use your nose/knuckles! ;)

    • dickfastistoostupid

      by hitting the cancel button on the screen right there, lol.

  • iPhone5sIsGarbage

    I do not trust this, if the NSA can access iphone data as it is, and the finger print data will be saved on the phone then there for it will still be there up for grabs.

    • Andrew

      Why are all of you so paranoid about NSA. What are you hiding. Get over it NSA will take what they want. Don’t like it move to a diff country. Other than that stop complaining. .

      • someone

        Unless you know every law and have a law degree to interpret every law, you probably have something to hide too. The average American commits three felonies a day without even knowing it.

        The only question is when they decide its worth their time to come after you. Just hope you don’t disagree with any political decisions (or the decisions of the lobbyists trying to exploit you) , because dissent is grounds for monitoring (and potentially more).

        As for moving to a different country, are you really ok with America no longer being “the land of the free and the home of the brave”?

        • Andrew

          It has never been truly free. So to sit there and say you actually believe america is the land of the free is very naive The only time this country was ever free was when it was inhabited by true native Americans.

    • Ging

      The data is encrypted and stored in the A7 SOC.


    NSA already knows who you are, your phone number, your location, your likes, dislikes, political tendencies, your face, your spouse’s face, your children’s faces, and on and on… the bio tag is just another piece of information that may reside on the device for now, but it can be lifted and de-crypted… If man encrypts it, man can decrypt it…
    Now, as for the functionality of the phone itself, yes, I like what I see, but the lack of a beefed up camera and some of the crappy out of the box apps remains to be a puzzle… but then again, it is an Apple after all, just accept it, don’t question it.

  • Sublogic

    Big Brother has your fingerprints. Imagine if your fingerprints were left at the scene of a crime. You own an iPhone 5c and make a purchase at home. NSA uses Apple’s fingerprint database to track your location based on the GPS coordinates of your last purchase. You are not safe, you can’t hide.

    • Sebastian Rasch

      Reading doesn’t seem to be your strong side, so let me expound to you what Apple says about that: There is no data base of fingerprints, they’re only saved in the A7 chip of that very iPhone you saved the fingerprint with. They’re not in the iCloud, they’re not accessible from the outside nor can apps access them.

      • Hi

        Also, for some reason, Sublogic was talking about the iPhone 5c, which doesn’t have Touch ID, so even if all these lies had been true, then the NSA couldn’t have used Apple’s database, because the iPhone didn’t scan your fingerprint. DO YOUR RESEARCH, SUBLOGIC!!!!!!

  • Abel Goddard

    Love the idea of using my fingerprint to buy apps and music. My question is how many fingers will it store? I think I’d want 3 of mine, and probably 2 of my wife’s (yes, I trust my wife with my phone, though its rare that she has it – mainly only when I’m driving and having her look up something for me).

  • Sebastian Rasch

    Never liked pass codes so I didn’t use one but this I like. Very handy feature indeed.

  • Joe bloggs

    It would be good it you need your fingerprint to turn off the device then a thief would have to wait for the battery to go or remove the chip… in the meantime you can locate with find my iphone :)