Touch ID that spans the entire iPhone display in the works at Apple

Posted:
in General Discussion
While Touch ID isn't being offered as a biometric authentication method in current-generation iPhones and the iPad Pro range, Apple is still considering the possibility of adding fingerprint recognition to its mobile devices, by using acoustic imaging on the display.




Face ID has been a successful replacement for Touch ID, boasting fewer false positives than the more physical biometric security system while still remaining fast to use. While it has brought some benefits, there are still some advantages to using Touch ID over Face ID, such as in situations where it isn't prudent to use Face ID or to unlock the iPhone while it is still in the user's pocket.

Even so, Touch ID has the major problem of requiring either a section of the front of the mobile device to be used for the fingerprint reader, reducing the potential screen size, or for it to be mounted on the back, a design choice Apple has yet to take. Based on a recently-granted patent, Apple has come up with a way to do Touch ID-style fingerprint reading, but without sacrificing the appearance of the iPhone itself.

The patent titled "Acoustic pulse coding for imaging of input devices," describes how sound could be applied to a surface in order to detect how another object comes into contact with it. In short, this could enable a fingerprint to be read when it is pressed onto a display.

An illustration using two rows of transducers at the top and bottom of the display
An illustration using two rows of transducers at the top and bottom of the display


According to the patent, an array of acoustic transducers are positioned in contact with the surface, and can transmit a coded impulse signal, in response to a touch input. By monitoring the reflections from multiple coded signals, an image resolver can receive the reflection data and generate an image based on the input.

In effect, sound impulses are sent out and come into contact with the ridges of the user's fingerprint. These ridges interrupt the impulse's transit and are reflected, with these reflections then interpreted into a fingerprint image that can be analyzed.

Such a technique would provide a number of benefits compared to existing fingerprint reading technology, including a reduced thickness of the components required as the transducers can be placed on the edge and away from other components. There is also a lack of a need for electrodes to be placed on the display, which aside from reducing the complexity of display production, also means a potential speed boost for performing the authentication check in the first place, due to Apple suggesting it requires less processing power.

As it is based on sound transmittance, it could also feasibly allow for fingerprint reading to be performed anywhere on the display of the device, not just one specific point.

One version involves transducers surrounding the entire display area, potentially allowing for a more accurate scan by pinging from multiple sides.
One version involves transducers surrounding the entire display area, potentially allowing for a more accurate scan by pinging from multiple sides.


Apple files numerous patents on a weekly basis, and while they do advise on areas of interest for the company, it doesn't necessarily mean the ideas disclosed will appear in a future product or service.

This is not the only time Apple has looked at alternative ways to perform fingerprint-based biometrics via the display, without using a designated sensor like Touch ID's Home button. In February 2017, a filing for an "Acoustic imaging system architecture" suggested a similar method of using acoustic pulses and waves from transducers to perform similar reflection-based analysis of objects in contact with the surface.

In August 2017, Apple was granted a patent for a sub-display fingerprint recognition technology that, again, used acoustic imaging. Again, it used transducers to transmit pulses and analyzed the reflections, but with a system of integrated transducer controllers capable of operating in both drive and sense modes, in order to solve architectural flaws relating to high voltage requirements.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    Being able to read a print anywhere on the screen would make under screen readers highly useful, and far superior to existing systems.

    The obvious benefit is not requiring you to place your finger in a specific spot, which might work great for some people but not others based on size of their hands or how they hold their devices. Now you can use your device the way you like.

    Another benefit would be automatic signing into Apps. If you hold your finger on an icon for a half second it not only launches the App but also reads your print at the same time for authorization. This would make it work like FaceID does now - launch the App and it authorizes/opens seamlessly.

    The final one would be for security freaks. You could require two fingers to press the display to authorize certain functions (like turning off Find My iPhone or erasing a device). This would be much harder to spoof than a single print.
    tmaydesignrwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 30
    Face ID works so much better for me than Touch ID ever did. I sure hope they don't plan on ditching Face ID for Touch ID. 
    charlesgresbluefire1
  • Reply 3 of 30
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,941member
    Being able to read a print anywhere on the screen would make under screen readers highly useful, and far superior to existing systems.

    The obvious benefit is not requiring you to place your finger in a specific spot, which might work great for some people but not others based on size of their hands or how they hold their devices. Now you can use your device the way you like.

    Another benefit would be automatic signing into Apps. If you hold your finger on an icon for a half second it not only launches the App but also reads your print at the same time for authorization. This would make it work like FaceID does now - launch the App and it authorizes/opens seamlessly.

    The final one would be for security freaks. You could require two fingers to press the display to authorize certain functions (like turning off Find My iPhone or erasing a device). This would be much harder to spoof than a single print.
    It would also allow instant payment authorization while tapping and holding a "submit" or "confirm" button while checking out.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 30
    I thought I would prefer Touch ID, but once adjusting, the only place I really miss it is with Apple Pay...there are some times it’s just awkward to use Face ID with your phone on the payment terminal... in practically every other situation, Face ID has seemed to be quicker and easier. I guess when I’m trying to discretely peek at my phone it could be useful as well, but even then, I can usually get my face enough in view for Face ID to work.
    JFC_PAcharlesgreswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 30
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,672unconfirmed, member
    Being able to read a print anywhere on the screen would make under screen readers highly useful, and far superior to existing systems.

    The obvious benefit is not requiring you to place your finger in a specific spot, which might work great for some people but not others based on size of their hands or how they hold their devices. Now you can use your device the way you like.

    Another benefit would be automatic signing into Apps. If you hold your finger on an icon for a half second it not only launches the App but also reads your print at the same time for authorization. This would make it work like FaceID does now - launch the App and it authorizes/opens seamlessly.

    The final one would be for security freaks. You could require two fingers to press the display to authorize certain functions (like turning off Find My iPhone or erasing a device). This would be much harder to spoof than a single print.


    Which is why I don't buy Apple ditching 3D touch for 2019 products. Maybe they'll ditch the current iteration for a more advanced solution but not altogether.


    BTW someone suggested adding ApplePay to iPod touch years ago and claimed it would be the most secure digital wallet ever. Strange but more ApplePay users won't hurt.

    tmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 30
    I thought I would prefer Touch ID, but once adjusting, the only place I really miss it is with Apple Pay...there are some times it’s just awkward to use Face ID with your phone on the payment terminal... in practically every other situation, Face ID has seemed to be quicker and easier. I guess when I’m trying to discretely peek at my phone it could be useful as well, but even then, I can usually get my face enough in view for Face ID to work.
    While I've only experienced POS terminals at normal counter/angels, FYI you dont have to be looking at it while you authenticate -- you can double-click the side button as you raise the phone, look at it to pre-authenticate, then place it on the terminal wherever it may lay.
    JFC_PAjcs2305watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 30
    Everyone thinks this is for phone or ipad... this would be an added benefit on the watch as well. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 30
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,252member
    Being able to read a print anywhere on the screen would make under screen readers highly useful, and far superior to existing systems.

    The obvious benefit is not requiring you to place your finger in a specific spot, which might work great for some people but not others based on size of their hands or how they hold their devices. Now you can use your device the way you like.

    Another benefit would be automatic signing into Apps. If you hold your finger on an icon for a half second it not only launches the App but also reads your print at the same time for authorization. This would make it work like FaceID does now - launch the App and it authorizes/opens seamlessly.

    The final one would be for security freaks. You could require two fingers to press the display to authorize certain functions (like turning off Find My iPhone or erasing a device). This would be much harder to spoof than a single print.
    No idea if Apple's patent and this are connected, but they appear to accomplish the same thing and with Sammy supplying displays to Apple... https://www.techspot.com/news/77027-samsung-patent-shows-vision-full-screen-fingerprint-scanner.html

    EDIT: Reading it again, probably not.
    edited February 5
  • Reply 9 of 30
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,725member
    I thought I would prefer Touch ID, but once adjusting, the only place I really miss it is with Apple Pay...there are some times it’s just awkward to use Face ID with your phone on the payment terminal... in practically every other situation, Face ID has seemed to be quicker and easier. I guess when I’m trying to discretely peek at my phone it could be useful as well, but even then, I can usually get my face enough in view for Face ID to work.
    Same experience here. Face ID is incredibly consistent and accurate. My only complaint is that I no longer have a button to orient my phone. With my old 6s, I could feel the button to orient the phone. Now I find myself looking at it upside down half time. I wish FaceID would work in any angle - then Apple could essentially have a phone that worked in any orientation.
    shaminowatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 30
    MplsP said:
    I thought I would prefer Touch ID, but once adjusting, the only place I really miss it is with Apple Pay...there are some times it’s just awkward to use Face ID with your phone on the payment terminal... in practically every other situation, Face ID has seemed to be quicker and easier. I guess when I’m trying to discretely peek at my phone it could be useful as well, but even then, I can usually get my face enough in view for Face ID to work.
    Same experience here. Face ID is incredibly consistent and accurate. My only complaint is that I no longer have a button to orient my phone. With my old 6s, I could feel the button to orient the phone. Now I find myself looking at it upside down half time. I wish FaceID would work in any angle - then Apple could essentially have a phone that worked in any orientation.
    This is my experience also, it seems like it would be a step back but I do miss the tactile feel of the home button, even though it was still simulated. While this is great tech, we have to wonder if it's a practical step for Apple to make here.
    TenPoundTabby
  • Reply 11 of 30
    FaceID is not really usable when you are wearing protective headgear or something like a facemask (in dusty environments)
    In these cases, a finger makes the task of opening the phone very easy.

    If this rumor is true then I may well think about upgrading my phone. Otherwise... sorry Apple my wallet will remain firmly shut. 
    TenPoundTabby
  • Reply 12 of 30
    anomeanome Posts: 1,303member

    I'd like to see TouchID back. As I said when FaceID was being mooted, I think having multiple options for secure identification is always better. Plus, after living with FaceID, I do have a couple of usage situations where TouchID would be preferable. Not to say FaceID doesn't work extremely well, but it doesn't recognise me when I'm wearing my sunglasses which I do a lot during the Summer here, especially when walking home at 7pm with the sun still out, and shining straight into my face.

    Also, my brother doesn't want FaceID because he sleeps with a CPAP mask, so he couldn't use his phone first thing in the morning.

    TenPoundTabbywatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 30
    Several companies already introduced this in-screen fingerprint reader capability, but it would be a good fit for Apple also.
  • Reply 14 of 30
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 358member
    FaceID is not really usable when you are wearing protective headgear or something like a facemask (in dusty environments)
    In these cases, a finger makes the task of opening the phone very easy.

    If this rumor is true then I may well think about upgrading my phone. Otherwise... sorry Apple my wallet will remain firmly shut. 
    Touch ID never works with gloves. Keeping the phone firmly locked for every person working with rough or hazardous materials or in the extreme cold. 

    Might be an an argument for both I suppose. 
    edited February 5 watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 30
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 358member
    anome said:

    I'd like to see TouchID back. As I said when FaceID was being mooted, I think having multiple options for secure identification is always better. Plus, after living with FaceID, I do have a couple of usage situations where TouchID would be preferable. Not to say FaceID doesn't work extremely well, but it doesn't recognise me when I'm wearing my sunglasses which I do a lot during the Summer here, especially when walking home at 7pm with the sun still out, and shining straight into my face.

    Also, my brother doesn't want FaceID because he sleeps with a CPAP mask, so he couldn't use his phone first thing in the morning.

    Face ID can now store two “faces” so it may be possible for one of those to be him masked?

    FWIW, face ID recognizes me with a baseball cap and Ultra dark Oakley prescription sunglasses, which is NOT how I trained it (I trained it in glasses, but at night in the dark it recognizes me without them). Lol. But, again, now with two face sets maybe just do a second in your sunglasses. 
    edited February 5 fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 30
    tylersdad said:
    Face ID works so much better for me than Touch ID ever did. I sure hope they don't plan on ditching Face ID for Touch ID. 
     Could not agree more. I’ve never had an issue with Face ID. I think it should be the standard for iPhones for years to come.
    edited February 5 watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 30
    kpomkpom Posts: 618member
    This is not necessarily evidence that they plan to use this technology. When they announced FaceID they said they had stopped development of in-display TouchID, which implies they had started it. They’ll patent whatever they can. 
  • Reply 18 of 30
    irelandireland Posts: 17,684member
    tylersdad said:
    Face ID works so much better for me than Touch ID ever did. I sure hope they don't plan on ditching Face ID for Touch ID. 
    Face ID is great for some uses, but not all. Touch ID is superior for in-store payments? Also, what would be the harm in providing both, where users could pick a preference?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 30
    ireland said:
    tylersdad said:
    Face ID works so much better for me than Touch ID ever did. I sure hope they don't plan on ditching Face ID for Touch ID. 
    Face ID is great for some uses, but not all. Touch ID is superior for in-store payments? Also, what would be the harm in providing both, where users could pick a preference?
    Or combine Touch ID, a passcode and Face ID for triple security?
    ksecanomewatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 30
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,252member
    Several companies already introduced this in-screen fingerprint reader capability, but it would be a good fit for Apple also.
    In fairness Spam this one is a little different since the entire screen is usable rather than a specific section. I can't think of another company who is already selling a smartphone with full-screen fingerprint recognition, but there might be so I won't claim there isn't one. 
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