Apple's Plans to Enhance Touch ID with Trackpad Capabilities and Display Integration Revealed

Late last week, we highlighted a pair of Apple patent applications offering details on the company's implementation of its "Touch ID" fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5s. The highly technical patent applications showed how the system works and revealed that Apple first moved to protect the ideas with the filing of several provisional patent applications in May 2012.

A third Touch ID-related patent application filed by Apple also quietly surfaced last week (via Unwired View) but has flown under the radar until now because it appears to have published on the World Intellectual Property Organization's database but not the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's database.

This third patent application is the most revealing yet with regard to Touch ID, showing how Apple has envisioned expanding the feature to incorporate trackpad functionalities, tracking movements of a user's finger or thumb over the sensor to navigate through user interfaces on the device's screen. In one example, Apple shows how a user moving his or her finger right to left across the Touch ID home button could pan a map, with a subsequent upward movement across the home button triggering activation of a multitasking interface.

touch_id_map_pan

Panning a map by moving finger right to left over Touch ID home button

Other examples show how users could take advantage of "revolving" or "twisting" motions of their fingerprints on the Touch ID home button to initiate actions. Adding the ability to recognize presses of various durations for the Touch ID home button and even sensors for detecting how hard the button is being pressed could offer even more powerful user interface navigation capabilities right from the home button.

Moving beyond the home button, Apple addresses the possibility of integrating Touch ID right into a device's display, allowing any area of the screen to be dynamically designated as a sensing region for the user's fingerprint. In one example, the area of a display representing the device's email app could require a valid fingerprint touching the icon in order for authorization to be granted.

touch_id_mail_auth

Authorizing Mail app with Touch ID sensing integrated into device display

Overall, Apple's patent application is a massive 610-page document incorporating 464 claims covering a wide range of applications for Touch ID in the future. Beyond the examples highlighted here, the application covers a number of other areas including:

- Enhanced touch typing recognition through sensing which fingers are touching the keys
- Using pressure and movement sensing to turn the home button into a simple game controller
- Using revolving "scroll wheel" motions on the home button to navigate through multitasking app listings
- Using fingerprint verification to enforce parental controls on age-rated media content, restrict maximum device volume, or automatically increase font sizes for children, seniors, or visually-impaired users
- Autofilling web forms or loading personalized web pages based on fingerprint identification
- Supporting multi-user profiles including authorized and guest profiles through fingerprint authorization
- Authorizing location "check-ins", mobile payment information, or photo/document author tagging based on fingerprint identification
- Supporting simultaneous multi-user configurations by allowing users to define separate areas of a device's screen for drawings, notes, or other content based on fingerprint recognition

Apple's patent application was filed on May 20, 2013, but cites as priority several provisional patent applications dated as far back as May 2012.

Tag: patent

Top Rated Comments

griz Avatar
97 months ago
"- Using revolving 'scroll wheel' motions on the home button to navigate through multitasking app listings"

Such a shame you can't just touch the screen and perform scrolling actions.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mannchild Avatar
97 months ago
Sometimes, due to my own experience, i almost feel like people are trolling when they say touchID doesn't work well for them. For me, the only time i have to scan my finger more than once for touchID to work is when my finger is moist. I would strongly suggest the people who are having problems scan each finger they want to use twice, if possible, and also make sure you are scanning from different angles when learning it into the device. i have had my device since launch and have never had issues.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ghettochris Avatar
97 months ago
I would like to see it used so if I show someone a picture and they try and swipe left or right they get denied. "you are not authorized to see other photos"
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JKarnsy Avatar
97 months ago
I wonder if these will be the icons for iOS 8.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bbeagle Avatar
97 months ago
Call me a troll but other phones do a lot of that today. I even remember my BB800 working like that in 2005.

Read the patent. The patent is for detecting movement of a FINGERPRINT. No phones have ever done this.

Other phones have detected movement of a FINGER, but not a FINGERPRINT. I know, I know, very similar. But it IS different because this is an AUTHORIZED movement instead of a movement of a finger, which does lead to the possibility of innovations in knowing who is moving the finger on the phone.

What it does for Apple, is disallow anyone else from putting a fingerprint scanner and a movement detector in the SAME BUTTON. I understand why this is patentable (something new - nobody has done this before), but it also shows what a silly place patents are in today's world. If Apple would not have patented this, someone else would have, and Apple couldn't do what it wanted to do. Now Samsung comes along and wants to put both on the same button, they can't. They need to use 2 separate buttons.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
97 months ago
Cool idea about requiring a print per app for permission, but it all seems vaguely familiar.

The world's first retina density smartphone (the 2007 Toshiba Portégé G900) had a swipe fingerprint sensor.

The sensor supported scrolling, and launching different apps with different fingerprints.

The phone even allowed unlocking a nearby laptop over Bluetooth via the phone's sensor.

Wow if it did all that and did it well why isn't Toshiba ruling the smartphone world today?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

tracking disabled ios 14 5

Analytics Suggest 96% of Users Leave App Tracking Disabled in iOS 14.5

Friday May 7, 2021 1:51 am PDT by
An early look at an ongoing analysis of Apple's App Tracking Transparency suggests that the vast majority of iPhone users are leaving app tracking disabled since the feature went live on April 26 with the release of iOS 14.5. According to the latest data from analytics firm Flurry, just 4% of iPhone users in the U.S. have actively chosen to opt into app tracking after updating their device...
tile amazon sidewalk integration

Tile to Leverage Amazon Echo and Ring Devices to Better Compete With AirTags

Friday May 7, 2021 2:07 pm PDT by
Amazon today announced that it is teaming up with Tile to add Amazon Sidewalk integration to Tile's Bluetooth trackers. Amazon Sidewalk, for those unfamiliar, is a network of Amazon Bluetooth devices that's designed to improve the connectivity of devices like the Ring and Amazon Echo. Tile will now be joining Amazon Sidewalk, and through this integration, Amazon Echo and Ring devices will be ...
Top Stories 59 Feature

Top Stories: Epic Games vs. Apple, Hidden AirTag Mode, Apple Music Hi-Fi, Colorful MacBook Air?

Saturday May 8, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
While we wait for the newly introduced iMac, iPad Pro, and Apple TV models to launch later this month, this week saw the kickoff of the big Epic Games v. Apple trial, with lots of juicy tidbits coming out as the two sides make their arguments. This week also saw some rumors about a Hi-Fi tier for Apple Music, more biometric sensing capabilities for Apple Watch, and timing for the...
airtag hacked

AirTag Successfully Hacked to Show Custom URL in Lost Mode

Monday May 10, 2021 1:52 am PDT by
The inevitable race to hack Apple's AirTag item tracker has reportedly been won by a German security researcher, who managed to break into the device's microcontroller and successfully modify its firmware. Yesss!!! After hours of trying (and bricking 2 AirTags) I managed to break into the microcontroller of the AirTag! 🥳🥳🥳/cc @colinoflynn @LennertWo pic.twitter.com/zGALc2S2Ph— stacksmashing ...
macbook colors 3d black bezels

Prosser: Next MacBook Air Could Come in Colors Similar to iMac

Friday May 7, 2021 6:55 am PDT by
According to Apple leaker Jon Prosser, Apple's upcoming release of the MacBook Air will feature various colors, similar to the colors in the newly released 24-inch iMac. In the latest video of his YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser says the same source who accurately provided him information on the first Apple silicon iMac coming in colors has told him that he recently saw a prototype...
zoom app icon

Apple Gave Zoom Access to Special API to Use iPad Camera During Split View Multitasking

Sunday May 9, 2021 2:00 am PDT by
Zoom, a hallmark platform used by millions during the global health crisis, has been given access to a special iPadOS API that allows the app to use the iPad camera while the app is in use in Split View multitasking mode. This case of special treatment was first brought to attention by app developer Jeremy Provost, who, in a blog post, explains that Zoom uses a special API that allows the...
Apple 5G Modem Feature

Kuo: Apple-Designed 5G Modem May Debut in iPhones as Early as 2023

Sunday May 9, 2021 10:02 pm PDT by
Apple plans to adopt its own custom-designed 5G baseband chip starting with the 2023 iPhones, meaning it'll no longer need to rely on Qualcomm to supply the 5G cellular modem for the iPhone, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in an investors note obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple plans to include its own custom-designed 5G baseband chip starting with the launch of the 2023...
3d printed airtag case siri remote

3D-Printed Case Lets You Attach an AirTag to Your Apple TV Remote

Monday May 10, 2021 8:11 am PDT by
Apple recently released a redesigned Siri Remote with a physical clickpad, but if you have an original Siri Remote laying around that you still plan on using, you may be interested in getting an AirTag case for the remote. Etsy user PrintSpiredDesigns has capitalized on the opportunity with a new 3D printed, made-to-order AirTag case for the original Siri Remote. The remote slides into the...
iPhone 13 Camera Backs

iPhone 13 Models Will Be Slightly Thicker and Will Have Larger Camera Bumps

Monday May 10, 2021 10:41 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 models will be slightly thicker than the iPhone 12 models and will also feature larger, thicker camera bumps with lenses that protrude less, according to iPhone 13 schematics seen by MacRumors. The new iPhone 13 and 13 Pro models are expected to feature a thickness of 7.57mm, up from 7.4mm in the iPhone 12 models. That's an increase of 0.17mm, which won't be hugely ...
ifixit m1 macbook teardown

Leaked MacBook Schematics Have Aided Independent Technicians Performing Complicated Repairs

Monday May 10, 2021 8:51 am PDT by
Independent technicians have reportedly been able to use leaked MacBook schematics to aid repairs (via Vice). Last month, Apple supplier Quanta Computer was hit with an attack by the ransomware group known as "REvil," leading to a large quantity of internal Apple documents about both released and unreleased devices being exposed. The leaked PDFs, available on a number of forums and online...