As impressive as Appleâ€™s FaceID tech is, when it was first introduced on the iPhone X in 2017, many still maligned the loss of Touch ID, a feature that hasnâ€™t been included on any new iPhones over the past two years. However, according to a new report from one of the worldâ€™s most well-respected Apple analysts, Touch ID could return to iPhones in 2021.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo (via 9to5Mac), Apple will release an iPhone in 2021 featuring both Face ID and TouchID on the same device. The main change for 2021 is that instead of building a fingerprint sensor into Appleâ€™s now-defunct Home button, Kuo says Apple will use a fingerprint reader built directly into the iPhoneâ€™s display.
However, rather than relying onÂ somewhat less-secure optical sensors like the ones used in the OnePlus 7 Pro, Kuo claims Appleâ€™s future in-screen Touch ID sensor will probably be based on one of Qualcommâ€™s ultrasonic fingerprint readers, which are similar to what Samsung uses in the Galaxy S10.
Kuo says that previously, issues such as power consumption, the size of the sensing area, the thickness of the module, and low production yields of ultrasonic sensors are why Apple hasnâ€™t incorporated the tech into current iPhone modelsâ€”problems that should be fully addressed by 2021.
Previously, Apple has filed patents regarding in-screen fingerprint sensors, including a filing from earlier this year that proposed the idea of an in-screen fingerprint reader that could take a scan from practically anywhere on the display, as opposed to current phones with sensors limited to tiny boxes typically located at the bottom of a deviceâ€™s display.
And while Kuo would not make any concrete predictions about Touch ID being added to other upcoming Apple devices, he also said the development of in-screen fingerprint sensor tech makes it â€œmore likelyâ€ that Touch ID could make its way into the Apple Watch as opposed to a camera-based Face ID biometrics.
Either way, bringing back Touch ID via an in-screen fingerprint sensor would be a welcome addition. Thatâ€™s because while Face ID has quickly become one of the iPhoneâ€™s most appreciated features, itâ€™s not an ideal authentication method in a number of situationsâ€”like trying to unlock your phone while itâ€™s lying flat on a table or when youâ€™re wearing sunglasses.
And with the tech industry gradually moving towards eliminating traditional passwords, the ability to have both Touch ID and Face ID on the same device could prove useful as a secure form of local two-factor authentication. Finally, for those who simply donâ€™t like or trust facial recognition tech, the return of Touch ID could serve as an alternative, but still secure, way to log into apps or make purchases online using an Apple account.
Still, 2021 is a long way from now, and as always, predictions like these arenâ€™t set in stone. So if youâ€™re thinking about upgrading anytime soon, itâ€™s probably not worth it to try and hold off for another two years.