In-Display Fingerprint Scanners Will Make a Debut on the IPhone in 2021

Posted on August 5, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Apple, iOS, Mobile with 19 Comments

Apple’s Face ID system on the newest iPhone works pretty well. It’s fast and reliable, making it a solid replacement for Touch ID. Face ID still, however, isn’t always perfect and can be inconvenient at times.

That might finally be addressed by Apple…in 2021. Yeah, that’s very late.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has published a new report outlining Apple’s plans of potentially placing an in-display fingerprint scanner on the iPhone in 2021. Some technical hardware design issues are preventing the firm from putting in-display fingers in the current iPhones, according to Kuo.

More specifically, 9to5Mac reports that Apple is unable to put in-display fingers on the current iPhones or the upcoming 2019 iPhones because of issues surrounding power consumption, size of the sensing area, the thickness of the sensing module, and the production yield rate of the lamination process. That’s a whole lot of different problems Apple will reportedly try to address in 2020, allowing the 2021 iPhones to ship with in-display fingerprint scanners.

Apple will continue to offer Face ID along with Touch ID because the Face ID sensors are used to power other features like Animoji. The company will reportedly use a variation of Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint-under-display-system for the in-display fingerprint scanner.

It will interesting to see if the introduction of Touch ID along with Face ID results in Apple charging more for the iPhone. The current line of iPhones are already very expensive, and further hikes could make it a difficult purchase for many.

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Comments (21)

21 responses to “In-Display Fingerprint Scanners Will Make a Debut on the IPhone in 2021”

  1. BrianEricFord

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

  2. IanYates82

    I went from a Samsung S8 to an S10.

    I use the fingerprint reader on the S10 rarely - it's in the display and I've learned to line up with it However it's nowhere near as convenient as the S8's was on the back. With a slim case on there, the cutout gave your finger an obvious target to hit consistently every time. Unlock without having to look or think. The S10 is not that...

    I'd love to get a fingerprint reader in the back again. Sure, have one under the glass too, but one on the back is awful convenient.

    For that matter, the iris scanner on the S8 worked quite well too, even through glasses. Samsung ditched that for the S10 though.

    • wright_is

      In reply to IanYates82:

      I completely agree. I have a Mate 10 Pro for private use and a P20 for work. The former has the fingerprint reader on the back, like my old Nexus and the P20 has it on the front. I much prefer the one on the back.

      Both also support facial recognition with an extra IR sensor on the P20.

      Both work fairly reliably, but after playing with it for a week or so, I turned the darned thing off. Just wanting to look at was status messages were on the lock screen meant pressing the power button and the phone then unlocked, when I didn't want it to. With the fingerprint reader, my finger goes naturally to the sensor on the back of the Mate when I pick it up, if i want to unlock it, otherwise a quick dab of the power button shows the lock screen. A much more comfortable way of doing it.

      Having the button on the front, like the P20 is okay, but it takes up unneeded space.

  3. JoePaulson

    What is like to see if the ability for apple to send fingerprint data to an AD server so businesses can make use of the reader in multi user environments.

    even if the handset needs to come from verified business resellers or apple directly to a business purchaser to have the feature turned on, that would be fine.

    • wright_is

      In reply to JoePaulson:

      It doesn't work over AD. Windows devices need a Microsoft SCCM server set up in the corporate environment to use fingerprint readers or facial recognition. It is local for Microsoft (home) accounts and local accounts, but AD PCs won't work with local fingerprint or facial recognition, it gets automatically disabled by the domain.

  4. dontbeevil

    “but but faceid is so much better” ... in-screen fingerprint, apple playing catch up as usual again

  5. pbeiler1

    Touch has failed more often than than Face ID, for me. I will do face ID any day. And to red.radar, buy an Omoton phone stand. Don’t get the cheap ones. They are not worth the money you spend (or don't spend, in the case of “free”). No, i am not affiliated with Omoton.

  6. skane2600

    In reply to SvenJ:

    So Apple could secretly use Face ID to open and pretend there's a fingerprint sensor and nobody would know the difference?

  7. skane2600

    This has always seemed to me to be a meaningless tech achievement. How will the user experience be improved over having a fingerprint scanner on the back? It seems meaningful innovation in smartphones is a thing of the past.

    • evox81

      In reply to skane2600:

      As someone who moved from a Galaxy S8+ to a Galaxy S10+, I can share that, for me, it has not proven meaningless.

      1. I don't have to hunt for the nearly featureless (from a touch/feel perspective) fingerprint sensor on the back of a large phone with a nearly identical feeling camera right next to it.
      2. I don't have to pick up my phone to unlock it... whether I can't pick it up for some reason, or don't need to pick it up, I can unlock it while it's laying face up.

      We as tech enthusiasts often need to be reminded that just because something doesn't have utility to us, doesn't mean it doesn't have utility. Your purchase of a Chromebook is a good example: they're certainly not for everyone, and they don't have a lot of fans here, yet you found a justification to purchase one for yourself. I'm sure you don't need someone preaching about how a Windows laptop could have accomplished the same thing and therefore the Chromebook is meaningless.

      • skane2600

        In reply to evox81:

        We all have potentially different preferences but I don't see this issue as tech enthusiast vs. non-technical folks. I might be the laziest person on this site, but I'm not challenged by having to pick up a phone to unlock it or feeling around for a fingerprint scanner. Sounds like a zeroth world problem to me, but to each their own.

  8. igor engelen

    I don't get it. Some of their devices only had Face ID for several years and it worked just fine, why bother with another touch ID?

    It would btw make a lot of sense if my iPhone would unlock automatically when in close range of my Watch (it needs a pin to unlock).

    • jwpear

      In reply to Igor Engelen:

      And there are some of us that just prefer using touch ID to unlock our phones. It just feels more natural. I have skipped two gens now primarily because they dumped touch ID. Neither are perfect. There are plenty of times my fingers are sweaty or dirty and I can't unlock my phone.

    • red.radar

      In reply to Igor Engelen:

      FaceID has its virtues, but its not a perfect replacement for touchID. If you are wearing sunglasses or other accesories it can be easily fooled. Most annoyingly, if the phone is sitting on my desk and I just want to acknowledge a notification it requires me to pick the device up to align my face with the sensor. Its a huge hassel when all I want to do is quickly interact with the phone wile it is laying on a table.

    • jchampeau

      In reply to Igor Engelen:

      Because Face ID doesn't work 100% of the when you're skiing and have a mask on or when it's on a wireless charging pad and you don't want to pick it up so it faces you. And having any device--be it a phone, laptop, tablet, or anything else with company data on it-- unlock automatically would violate most companies' security policies and go against good common sense.

  9. warren

    Interesting definition of "will", Mehedi.

  10. MikeGalos

    The rumor Mehedi failed to mention is that Apple is supposedly doing this to first produce a cheaper iPhone for the Chinese market that won't have FaceID but only the new fingerprint sensor since they've priced themselves out of the lucrative China market.

    I guess positioning it as a "feature" makes the cost cutting look less like backtracking on an expensive failure.

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