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Apple gave me Touch ID on a 2022 iPhone, but I want more
The 2022 iPhone SE doesn’t rock the boat. In fact, it feels like a phone from another era in almost every way. While that doesn’t always work in its favor, the tiny iPhone has one thing going for it: Touch ID. We’ve been asking for the feature for a while — it topped Dhruv’s list of what we want to see from Apple this year — and now it’s back. I’ve missed it dearly, and like the greedy little tech enthusiast I am, I want more.
See also: The best iPhone SE alternatives
No, Face ID isn’t the problem
I’m not here to bash Face ID while I try to convince Apple to bring back Touch ID. In fact, it’s probably the best face unlock option by a good margin. You can use Face ID with a mask as of iOS 15.4, and Apple seems committed to improving the capabilities as time goes on. However, I’m asking Apple to embrace a little bit of flexibility. Like the little girl in an Old El Paso commercial once said “Por que no los dos?”
Sure, Face ID is probably the easier biometric to use if your phone is already unlocked. If you’re downloading an app or confirming an Apple Pay purchase, one glance and Face ID does the rest. However, I love the feeling of reaching in my pocket, pressing the Touch ID sensor, and being past the lock screen by the time I raise my phone. You can’t do that with Face ID — you have to wait until the phone is in front of you, and even then, you’ll still either have to swipe or double-tap to unlock.
I love reaching in my pocket, pressing the Touch ID sensor, and having an open phone by the time it reaches eye level.
Apple just has to look to the other side to find examples of how biometrics can work together. There are plenty of Android devices on the market with both facial recognition and a fingerprint reader. Some are in the display, others are mounted to the side of the phone, but they’ve all come a long way in the past few years.
The Galaxy Z Flip 3, for example, carries its fingerprint reader on the side. Having recently revisited the phone, I was struck by the fingerprint reader, which remains one of the fastest I’ve ever used. One tap and you’re in. It’s all the more impressive considering the hurdle Samsung had to overcome with the folding form factor and thinner sides.
Power to the power button
Apple hasn’t given up on Touch ID, not by a long shot. It’s still right at home on the redesigned iPad Air and iPad Mini. However, both tablets have moved on from the classic round home button. Instead, the Touch ID sensor calls the power button its home. With the way Apple likes to trickle features from one line to another, it’s not far-fetched to hope we see an expansion of Touch ID-integrated power buttons.
Learn more: Here’s how fingerprint scanners work
Plus, Apple doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel to bring Touch ID back to the iPhone. The position of the iPhone power button already offers some extra room for hardware. It’s all alone on the right side, so it should be feasible to make the button slightly larger to accommodate the fingerprint sensor. I say “should” because there’s always a chance Apple will continue to ignore Touch ID and deem double biometrics unnecessary.
If a larger power button is the price I have to pay, then so be it.
For a while, Face ID was the perfect excuse to keep Touch ID at arm’s length. The sensors required a large notch in the top of the display, taking up precious space from other hardware. However, the iPhone 13 packs a smaller notch, and rumors suggest that the iPhone 14 will shrink it even further. Apple also has an existing patent that sounds a lot like an in-display fingerprint reader, so maybe we’re already on our way back to a Touch ID future.
So, if Apple has found a way to shrink its Face ID sensors, and it can fit Touch ID into an iPad power button, why not take the best of both worlds? Apple, por que no los dos?