Rumors Persist About Apple Placing Touch ID on Back of iPhone 8

Apple's rumored "iPhone 8" with an OLED display and wireless charging will continue to have Touch ID, but there is a "high chance" it will be on the back of the smartphone, says Hong Kong-based equity research firm CLSA.

iphone 8 benjamin geskin

"iPhone 8" mockup with rear Touch ID sensor by Benjamin Geskin

An excerpt from a research note distributed this week by CLSA analysts Sebastian Hou and Brian Chen:

iPhone to ditch fingerprint sensor? We don’t think so.
Both Samsung and Apple tried to enable in-display fingerprint sensing on full-screen OLED phones in 2017, but their optical tech seems immature and the major iPhone 8 bottleneck. Some thus speculate the fingerprint sensor will be removed and replaced by 3D sensing. Our latest supply chain checks indicate the iPhone 8 will still have the sensor given security, user-friendliness, and a need for payments infrastructure, but there is a high chance it will be on the back like Samsung's Galaxy S8.

CLSA created a diagram showing Touch ID placed slightly below the Apple logo on the back of the iPhone.

Samsung included a fingerprint sensor on the back of the Galaxy S8, but some reviews found it to be awkwardly positioned next to the camera. Apple placing Touch ID lower down could make it easier to reach.

iphone 8 clsa
The diagram also shows a vertically-aligned dual-lens camera, a widely rumored iPhone 8 feature seen in previous renders. There also appear to be additional modules next to the front-facing camera, likely for rumored 3D sensing and facial recognition functionality. Other features shown are identical to the iPhone 7.

The diagram suggests the iPhone 8 will be 144mm tall and 71mm wide, making it slightly larger than an iPhone 7 but smaller than an iPhone 7 Plus as expected. With a depth of 7.69mm, the iPhone 8 would be just a hair thicker than the iPhone 5s, if the dimensions CLSA lists prove to be accurate.

Touch ID on the back of the iPhone 8 appears to be a fallback solution given Apple's struggles to integrate the fingerprint sensor underneath the smartphone's display effectively enough for mass production. Leaked renders suggest Apple has explored a rear Touch ID sensor on at least one iPhone 8 prototype.

Other manufacturing challenges may push iPhone 8 production behind schedule by at least one or two months, possibly delaying shipments until October or November. Nevertheless, most analysts still think Apple will announce the iPhone 8 in September alongside the so-called iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus.

While some Apple fans will quip that "this same rumor surfaces every year," oft-reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities implied this year's shortage could be much more "severe" than in previous years.

Tags: CLSA, Touch ID

Top Rated Comments

britabroad Avatar
52 months ago
From a practical standpoint, touch ID on the back just doesn't work. For one, you won't be able to unlock the phone while it's sitting on your desk, which immediately takes away 50% of your unlock options. Also, a case would have to have a cutout on the rear to accommodate, adding to the phone's vulnerability. Then there's the issue with car mounts - I often unlock while it's clipped into its dash mount to access the maps. (While stationary, of course). All seems like a step back.
Score: 60 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Loge Avatar
52 months ago
Putting the Touch ID on the back just to get an elongated screen with a ridiculous aspect ratio makes no sense whatsoever.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bluespark Avatar
52 months ago
Well, look at the bright side. If the Touch ID sensor is on the back, then at least we won't have to worry about an iPhone shortage....
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AJ5790 Avatar
52 months ago
Last week rumors persosted that it would be in the screen. This week it's different. No one knows. I keep telling myself to just ignore all this... it's not working.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gpat Avatar
52 months ago
It will be on the back and you'll like it.
Then the 2018 iPhone will have it on front and you'll like that as well.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Quu Avatar
52 months ago
I really don't like the idea of it on the back. Feels like an admission of failure on their part if they do that.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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