In a newly published Apple patent application credited to Dale Setlak, co-founder of AuthenTec, the company reveals its interest in enhanced security capabilities for the iPhone home button and Touch ID. The patent application describes how the Touch ID sensor could be paired with an on-screen combination lock or other secondary security feature, requiring the user to move his or her finger in certain directions to fully unlock a device.

As noted by Patently Apple, the June 2013 application shows off a few possibilities for the new technology, including a traditional combination lock-style system that has the user rotating his or her finger on the Touch ID sensor to input a security code.

Screenshot (43)
Another potential implementation would require the user to swipe through a collection of circles by subtly shifting his or her finger in a specific pattern to unlock the phone. Both rely on the same technology created by AuthenTec that uses simultaneous security of a user's unique fingerprint and secure combinations to gain access to a device. AuthenTec has of course played an important role since its acquisition by Apple back in 2012, with the company's "Smart Sensor" technology serving as the basis for Touch ID.

While Touch ID was implemented for security reasons, the addition of a simple-to-enter secondary security code would increase security even further as a form of two-factor authentication combining physical authentication (fingerprint) with knowledge-based authentication (lock combination or swipe pattern). Implementation of such a system would address concerns over court rulings indicating that users could be compelled by police to unlock fingerprint-protected devices, unlike with passcode-protected devices.

The evolution of Touch ID from solely a fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5s to the expanded "Reachability" features of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus provides a hint at the possibilities of Touch ID in the future. And while inventions disclosed in Apple patent applications frequently do not ever appear in products, they can still offer some insight into Apple's areas of interest.

Tag: patent

Top Rated Comments

Klae17 Avatar
83 months ago
No thank you. It's flakey enough as it is. Add this and it will never work.

Put down the greasy burgers and it should work fine like 99.99% of the millions of touch IDs out there
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
avanpelt Avatar
83 months ago
Yes it is the fault of the technology. Skin too dry? Too moist? It fails. It also fails dramatically in guided access mode. Not only doesn't it work to disable it, it actually resets the security so it thinks the phone was compromised. So you need your passcode to enable touched on everything again:login, apple pay, iTunes store, etc.

That's what I mean by flakey.
Show me any fingerprint sensor on the market today that will work reliably if you register your fingerprints with moist skin and then let your fingers crack/peel and then try to unlock with your print. It won't work -- and for good reason -- there is not a match. If there is not a match, it should not unlock the phone.

Wanting it to work under such conditions is like wanting your car key to unlock another car because the grooves on the key to the other car are virtually identical to the grooves on your key. They might be almost identical but there is not a perfect match so it doesn't work. If it did work, that would be a far bigger problem.

There are always going to be some instances where there are false negatives but I'd much prefer getting false negatives over getting false positives. To date, I haven't heard of anyone being able to hand their phone to someone and that other person being able to unlock the phone without first placing a copy of the owner's print over their finger.

I've heard some folks say that after you've registered your print(s) with Touch ID, you can add additional readings of the print(s) by going into the Touch ID settings where it lists your print names and simply placing your finger(s) on the Touch ID sensor. Perhaps you may want to try doing this when your finger is dry to see if it is able to recognize enough of your print to match it and then train it with your "dry skin" print, as well. You'll know there's a match because the name of the print will light up when you place your finger on the Touch ID sensor. If none of the print names light up, there's no match.

I spent an little bit of time doing this in the Touch ID settings placing my finger on the sensor every possible way I could think of that I would place my finger on the sensor -- sides, tip, etc. over and above what you do when you first register your print. My success rate with Touch ID has been near 100%.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JoEw Avatar
83 months ago
I hope the next couple years Apple integrates TouchID into the screen and the home button can slowly go away.

It would be a huge change, but eventually phones will only be a screen.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Michael Goff Avatar
83 months ago
I want them to just get rid of the home button all together. it looks very dated and a waste of unnecessary bezel

And then we go back to the home screen using our minds, right?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Amazing Iceman Avatar
83 months ago
Put down the greasy burgers and it should work fine like 99.99% of the millions of touch IDs out there

Yeah, and avoiding picking your nose with that finger will make it even more reliable:D
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Michael Goff Avatar
83 months ago
Nope you just swipe up from the left side of the screen to go back to the home screen or swipe up from the right side to activate multi tasking. Been doing it on my jb iPhones for years. Double clicking the home button all the time is inconvinient and makes it feel like its gonna break at some point

I dislike that idea greatly. Seriously, the home button works.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

siir apple event april 20

Siri Reveals Apple Event Planned for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
Siri has apparently prematurely revealed that Apple plans to hold an event on Tuesday, April 20, where the company is expected to reveal brand new iPad Pro models and possibly its long-awaited AirTags trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Upon being asked "When is the next Apple Event," Siri is currently responding with, "The special event is on Tuesday, April...
apple event spring loaded

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Officially Announced for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with all of Apple's 2020 events, the April 2021 event will be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to attend in...
Google maps feaure green

Google Maps App for iOS Finally Updated After Four Months

Monday April 12, 2021 10:03 am PDT by
Following the completed rollout of App Privacy labels for its App Store apps, Google today updated the Google Maps app for the first time in four months. Apple in December began requiring all new app submissions and app updates to include App Privacy labels, detailing the data that is collected by the app so consumers know what they're sharing. Google didn't begin implementing App Privacy ...
pixel watch prosser leak

Google Pixel Watch Allegedly Leaks with Circular Design, Rumored to Launch in October

Monday April 12, 2021 2:49 am PDT by
Renders of Google's first smartwatch, codenamed "Rohan," have been shared by Jon Prosser, showing that Google plans to adopt a circular design for its flagship wearable watch. Prosser shared the renders in an episode of his YouTube show "Front Page Tech," in which he claims they were made based on marketing material he had seen from a source within Google. The renders show that the Pixel...
apple event hashflag

Twitter Hashflag for April 20 Apple Event Goes Live

Tuesday April 13, 2021 2:21 pm PDT by
Following the overnight Siri leak and subsequent announcement that Apple will hold a media event on Tuesday, April 20, a new Twitter hashflag has appeared to help provide visibility for the event on the platform. For the last several recent events, Apple has utilized hashflags, which are little icons next to hashtags on Twitter, as a way to market its events. The company first started the...
macos catalina serial number

Apple Preparing Rollout of New Randomized Product Serial Numbers Ahead of 'Spring Loaded' Event

Wednesday April 14, 2021 2:08 am PDT by
Apple is advising its authorized premium resellers and dealers to prepare for new products with 10 and 12 digital serial numbers, days ahead of when it's expected to reveal a slew of new products. MacRumors previously reported that Apple plans to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021. The company now seems to be preparing for that roll-out, telling...
iphone12cameras

Kuo: 2022 iPhones to Feature 48-Megapixel Camera, 8K Video, and 6.1 and 6.7" Sizes With No 5.4" Mini Option

Tuesday April 13, 2021 10:45 pm PDT by
The upcoming 2022 iPhone lineup will feature two 6.1-inch devices and two 6.7-inch devices, with no mini-sized 5.4-inch iPhone, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors that was seen by MacRumors. Two of the iPhones will be high-end models and two of the iPhones will be lower-end models, similar to the current iPhone 12 lineup. Apple introduced the 5.4-inch...
AppleTV and HomePod Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on New Apple TV With Integrated HomePod Speaker and FaceTime Camera

Monday April 12, 2021 3:32 am PDT by
Apple is working on a combined Apple TV with HomePod speaker that has a camera for video calls through a connected television set, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. From the report: The company is working on a product that would combine an Apple TV set-top box with a HomePod speaker and include a camera for video conferencing through a connected TV and other smart-home functions,...
epic iap feature 3

Tim Cook Says App Store Would Become a 'Flea Market' if Third-Party Payment Systems Were Allowed

Monday April 12, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
In a recent interview with the Toronto Star, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke about a wide variety of topics, ranging from App Tracking Transparency to Apple's ongoing legal battle over App Store policies with Fortnite creator Epic Games. Notably, Cook said that Epic Games' desire for Apple to let developers offer their own payment systems in apps "would make the App Store a flea market":At the...
tim cook toronto star

Tim Cook Says Apple is 'Not Against Digital Advertising' Ahead of iOS 14.5 Launch With App Tracking Transparency

Monday April 12, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and tvOS 14.5, Apple will be requiring apps to receive a user's permission to track their activity for targeted advertising purposes, as part of a privacy measure known as App Tracking Transparency. Ahead of App Tracking Transparency being enforced, Apple CEO Tim Cook has participated in a privacy-focused interview with the Toronto Star, telling the...