Apple to abandon Touch ID on iPhone 8, will instead use passcode or facial recognition

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Apple originally intended to embed its Touch ID fingerprint scanner into the display on its upcoming iPhone 8. Production difficulties, however, reportedly sidelined the effort and led some to believe that Apple would instead move the fingerprint scanner to the back of the device.

Now, we’re hearing that Touch ID is being abandoned entirely which, if true, is a disastrous decision.

Apple’s Touch ID helped popularize the use of fingerprints on mobile devices. The company wasn’t the first to implement such technology but it did have the distinction of working well (the same couldn’t be said about many early fingerprint solutions).

Sources familiar with the matter tell The Wall Street Journal that Apple is ditching the fingerprint scanner and will instead rely on either a traditional passcode or a new facial recognition feature for login and authentication purposes.

Reverting back to a passcode that must be entered manually every time you unlock your device seems asinine. Facial recognition – at least, what I’ve seen of it thus far – could easily be classified as little more than a gimmicky, unreliable feature. Unless Apple has been able to greatly advance facial recognition technology, it doesn’t sound like a suitable stand-in for Touch ID.

The misstep also reportedly cost Apple valuable production time that’ll translate to (additional) inventory shortages.

Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 8 on September 12 and release it on September 22.

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p51d007

TS Evangelist
Uh Oh...those that push that button to unlock their iPhone aren't going to be happy.
Pressing in a PIN code? Oh my! that's so "90's".
Facial recognition? How long til someone figures out a way to get around that?
It's almost as if Apple is hoping the iPhone 8 will fail, and come back with something
for the iPhone 9? I guess "fashion" trumps function. They should have put either the
button back on the home screen, OR a button on the back for the touch ID.
 

erickmendes

TS Evangelist
I'm no Apple fanboy... But Apple seems to know what it's doing (at least sometimes...).

Sure fingerprint is in it's best moment, but If someone nails another biometric that could rely only on camera, it's one less device input to weight in the bom.
 

Solar Flair

TS Enthusiast
I'm no Apple fanboy... But Apple seems to know what it's doing (at least sometimes...).

Sure fingerprint is in it's best moment, but If someone nails another biometric that could rely only on camera, it's one less device input to weight in the bom.
Fingerprint is better than facial recognition in many ways
- you can unlock your phone without holding your phone correctly to face your face
- even under dark environment, fingerprint sensor works.
- its hard to steal someone's finger print than their photo to log into their phone

Now I wonder if Apple just want to save cost by eliminating a sensor or are they trying to get everyone's up-to-date front face login photo to built up their database for fishy purpose. Maybe Apple do know what they are doing after all.

P.S. I never own an iPhone and I am a Android user and I am happy to see apple fall.
 
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Skidmarksdeluxe

TS Evangelist
Apple! The only 'revolutionary' company that offers a lot less for a lot more. Hopefully they be able to pin the blame of the lack of the biometric scanner on Samsung as well. I mean it's all their fault they're overcharging Apple for the latest screens so Apple is forced to pass the cost onto the consumer otherwise their massive profit per unit sold won't look so great anymore. We can't have that.
 

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
The problem, as was actually reported in multiple locations many weeks ago, was that Apple couldn't embed the fingerprint sensor underneath the "home" button, as this had already been converted from a physical button to a separate touch-sensitive sensor, while also providing a bezel-less OLED screen.

Whether they knew this would be impossible before production began or not we'll almost certainly never find out - Apple isn't exactly going to tell us they made a boo boo!!

I find the fingerprint fairly convenient, but it doesn't work if your fingers are damp (either from sweat, recently washing your hands, or rain) and I often find it faster to simply enter in the passcode. Facial recognition might work (I hear that the Windows 10 version is actually pretty decent), but I have no intention of enabling that.
 

Straydox

TS Rookie
It's most probably Apple coming to terms with the fact that competition doesn't see fingerprint security as that important anymore. Take the Samsung S8 - the fingerprint reader got moved to the back because there are better forms of security such as Trusted Devices, Locations or a known voice. If the phone can 'see' say my watch via Bluetooth the it knows it's safe and stays unlocked. If it loses the link then it locks instantly. Facial recognition is there too - good luck with that one, it seems fraught with challenges such as lighting.
 

ghostf1re

TS Guru
I don't understand this decision. I don't use Touch ID to unlock my phone, but I do use it for Apple Pay. I'm curious how this is going to work now.