The iPhone 14 is unlikely to feature under-display Touch ID, but the iPhone 15 may

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Patents have aided progress.

image credits: imore

Will Apple ever include an under-display fingerprint scanner in one of its iPhones? That’s a question that’s been asked a lot, and sources have disagreed on the answer so far. But now there’s even more evidence, as Apple was recently given a comparable patent – though don’t anticipate it on the iPhone 14.

The patent, which was discovered by Patently Apple, is for under-display optical fibres that may be utilised to record fingerprint data reliably.

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Apple’s technology looks to produce lower optical transmission losses than other alternatives, which could mean faster and more accurate fingerprint scanning. The patent’s specifics are less interesting than the fact that Apple has patented this technology at all, as it signals that under-display Touch ID could be on the way.

However, there are a few caveats. To begin with, many ideas are patented, and many of them never see the light of day in goods, so just because Apple is considering something doesn’t imply it will be implemented.

We wouldn’t expect under-display Touch ID on the iPhone 14 series, given there isn’t much evidence of it yet – though one early leak did hint at it. However, it’s feasible that we’ll see it on the iPhone 15 or later.

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The other concern is that, while this patent appears to be focused on fingerprint scanning, it also mentions face recognition applications, which means it could enable for under-display Face ID, which Apple has been working on for a long time.

So we could see it instead (or in addition), but given that leaked photographs show visible Face ID components on the iPhone 14 range, we’re still looking at over a year.

Touch ID would be nice, but it’s unlikely to happen

While there has been speculation over the years that Apple is working on an under-display Touch ID system, recent leaks indicate that this will not be the case. While this patent offers some optimism for a Touch ID future, the most of the evidence still points against it.

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That’s a shame, because there are times when Face ID won’t suffice, such as when you need to unlock your phone without holding it up to your face.

Still, those situations are likely to be rare for most users, and given that Face ID works even with a mask on, there are few big limitations to the system, so while Touch ID would be nice, it’s far from necessary, and Apple is unlikely to prioritise it.

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