Apple could bring back fingerprint scanners on the iPhone as soon as this year.
The firm abandoned Touch ID on its flagship phones in favour of Face ID with the iPhone X back in 2017, although you will still find it on the cheaper iPhone SE, Macs and some iPad models.
Face ID allowed Apple to fit bigger, full-faced screens on the iPhone at the expense of the traditional Home button.
But now the wearing of face masks due to the coronavirus pandemic is so widespread, Face ID is less useful than it used to be.
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Bloomberg reports that Apple is racing to reintroduce Touch ID for 2021 models of the iPhone.
The upgrade is only in “testing” at the moment, so it’s not guaranteed.
But it could be a major boon to Touch ID fans who sorely miss the ease of tapping their iPhone to unlock it.
But more expensive versions of the iPhone could get a souped-up fingerprint scanner later this year.
Importantly, this new version of Touch ID wouldn’t require a Home button.
Instead it would be built into the screen, hidden below the display.
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Rival smartphone makers like Samsung have been using under-screen fingerprint readers for years but the technology has never appeared in an Apple product, likely due to concerns the technology is not where it needs to be, as the under-screen readers can suffer from performance issues, lag and problems caused by applied screen protectors.
But Qualcomm, which supplies parts for smartphone makers like processors and 5G modems, recently announced a faster under-display fingerprint reader.
The two companies have had a frosty recent history but it’s possible you could find that new reader under the next iPhone’s screen.
This means Apple could still fit a giant screen to the iPhone – just like all iPhone X-style handsets to date.
Face ID is still unlikely to go away.
When an iPhone owner isn’t wearing a mask, Face ID tends to be quicker for unlocking phones.
The sensors are also useful for various augmented reality and photography features.
Of course, Apple hasn’t confirmed that Touch ID is coming back to the iPhone.
And even if the reports are true, Apple could still scrap the feature before this year’s big iPhone launch.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission