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Apple Shares a Few More Touch ID Details, Admits the Technology Isn’t Flawless

by Brandon Russell | September 11, 2013September 11, 2013 7:00 pm PDT

iPhone 5s iPhone 5c Keynote - iPhone 5s - Touch ID - Promo - 019

One of the bigger features of Apple’s new iPhone 5S is that neat biometric Touch ID sensor embedded right into the home button. From a convenience stand point, it’ll be huge for users that don’t want to deal with pass codes and long iTunes passwords. It could potentially be huge for security, too. While the technology isn’t exactly new, consumers have never seen it widely implemented in such a popular product. So are there any immediate drawbacks to Apple’s new system?

A company spokesman talked to the Wall Street Journal following Apple’s announcement, and said that its new system does possess a few problems. Fortunately, it doesn’t sound like people should at all be concerned with their privacy and the potential of a thief stealing a person’s fingerprint—that information is securely stored on the iPhone 5S’s A7 chip, which is inside the phone itself. Even if a thief did get ahold of your device, Apple has implemented a few measures to ensure your information stays safe.

When initially setting up fingerprint scanning, users are required to enter a passcode that is only called upon after a phone is rebooted or unlocked for more than 48 hours. No word on if Apple will ever implement an extra security layer when turning the device off, which was brought up by Gizmodo’s Kyle Wagner.

As for accuracy, the Apple spokesperson said Touch ID isn’t 100 percent perfect under certain circumstances, such as when a finger is wet or if it is scarred or cut. Since Touch ID’s sensor array essentially captures images of a user’s fingerprint, debris and other factors could give false readings, though Apple doesn’t anticipate users to run into problems consistently.

The spokesperson also reiterated that third party developers won’t have access to Touch ID—at first. Apple is launching both its iPhones on Sept. 20, a little more than a week away, so we’ll know soon just how accurate at convenient the iPhone 5S’s new Touch ID tech is.

WSJ AppleInsider

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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