Fingerprint Scanner...WTF is it for?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by johnseattle, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. macrumors member

    Jul 30, 2013
    How is this of any value on a phone? I see them on PCs and they are never used.
  2. macrumors G3


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    First, what you see on PCs is a crap version of a fingerprint scanner. The tech Apple bought, on paper, is actually quite robust.

    Second, to actually answer your question, I would assume it is used for tasks like unlocking your phone and maybe even authorizing payments. Everywhere you'd put a password, you can use your fingerprint instead. Just guesses of course. I am with you on the "I think it's pointless" front, but I will reserve judgement until I see it, IF I see it.
  3. macrumors 68020


    Nov 23, 2011
    Yep, but if there's one thing you can guarantee, it's that if Apple put something into their hardware they're not going to do it half-assed. They'll only do it if it's perfected.

    Yes, there are exceptions to the rule -- Apple Maps, for instance -- but if you look at Apple in general they're not one to throw things on the wall and see what sticks.

    I, for one, am very excited for this. :D
  4. macrumors 603


    Aug 15, 2009
    Connecticut, USA
    I imagine its primary function in the end will be providing a secure way to authorize near-field RF payments.
  5. macrumors 65816


    Jan 24, 2012
    Just a gimmick to get you to buy the phone, and guess what it will work!
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2012
    It's not the same as ones you see on current computers. Also, using your fingerprint to unlock an iPhone is easier than on a laptop due the iPhones portable size.
  7. macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2013
    I switch from and iPhone 4 to a S3 last September. I have been planning to switch back to iPhone as soon as the 5S is announced. I don't know how much i will actually use the fingerprint scanner but hey it can't hurt. The more features the better.
  8. macrumors 68020


    Nov 16, 2006
    And you can always.... not use it if you dont like it! Shocking statement there I know.
  9. macrumors 603


    Jun 30, 2008
    People get all worked up because they think something will be amazing:

    "NFC?!?!? Now I don't have to swipe my card!"
    [forgetting the terrible security they generally have and the ability to grab CC numbers in transmission]

    "Siri!?!? Now I don't have to type!"
    [Instead I'll ask siri repeatedly if it's hot and why it won't have sex with me]

    "Fingerprint scanner?!?!?! Now I won't have to type a code anymore!"
    [questionable if this is really more secure, especially given how easy it is to lift prints off of any electronic device]

    But will really no no practical use on a phone.
  10. macrumors 68030


    Aug 16, 2011
    Philadelphia Area
    Why would it be harder on a laptop? "Portable size" has nothing to do with it. Once my laptop is open and set up, using the scanner isn't more difficult. I don't get it.
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 18, 2012
    I use Siri on a regular basis for starters. Also being able to eliminate the need to type in my passcode 25 times a day would by itself make it worth having. Anything after that would be icing on the cake. However, if (and I mean if) it allows secure payment options, then I think that would be huge.
  12. g35
    macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2007
    Do you really type a passcode 25x/day? I only have to if I download a new app that requires login, which is maybe once a week or month. Everything is logged in automatically due to cookies. I understand that you may be different but 25x seems excessive.

    Most people I know who use iPhones stick to their tried and true apps and maybe jump on the latest ones like Snapchat or Tinder once every few months. Seems like a solution to a problem that doesn't exist for the majority of users.
  13. macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2013
    It failed on laptops i think its gonna fail on smartphones. who really needs one and nobody is really gonna use it that often
  14. macrumors 6502a


    Aug 17, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    How is 25x a day excessive? You have to put in the passcode every time you are unlocking the phone if you have passcode enabled... I myself put in my passcode more than 25x a day as I put my phone to sleep after every text.
  15. Zerilos, Jul 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2013

    macrumors 6502a

    Dec 18, 2012
    I'd be shocked if I didn't enter my passcode more than 25x a day. Even if I checked my phone just twice a hour and sleep 12 hours a day, then that would be 24x a day...but I check more than that each hour and don't sleep that much. If you don't have auto-lock activated then you probably aren't as excited about this as those of us who do. I hope to see secure payment options come out of this as well, which would be great IMHO.


    Same here. Always turn of screen when I'm done using phone. Not having to enter that code so often would be awesome. Not locking my phone is not an option sadly.


    Except for literally every time I use my phone.


    Thing is, smartphones (especially the iPhone) are by far the most frequently stolen item in the USA (and elsewhere I assume). Plus they are filled with personal/financial data for many of us. Discouraging theft and reducing the possibility of accessing personal info is important IMHO.
  16. macrumors 604


    Jan 8, 2012
    Not entirely true.

    Depending on how you feel about security maybe setting your "require passcode" to 5-15 minutes and/or reply with message to on would help in your current situation.

    This is how I keep mine set and a text message session is never a problem. Nor is that occasional check.

    About the time I would notice my phone missing is when it would already be locked.

    Again, this is assuming your not too worried about it. This works well for me, I use my phone a lot and enter my passcode 2-3 times maybe....
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2012
    If you have managed device (I.e., an iPhone provided by your employer), you are probably stuck with the 2 minute auto lock. I have to re-enter the 8 digit password on my work iPhone every 2 minutes.

    I will be thrilled if I can substitute a thumbprint for that 8-digit password.


    Here's a blurb on the fingerprint sensor believed to be in the iPhone 5S:

  18. macrumors regular


    Jul 2, 2011

    I've always wanted the finger print scanner until recently. I'm starting to shy away from all the cloud storage, and although it would be a nice alternative to typing in a pass code, I highly suspect the fingerprint "key" would be stored as part of iCloud. If there was the option to store it locally that would be great, but with all this PRISM/NSA stuff coming to light, if makes me worry who would have access to my credit cards, fingerprints, emails, etc. Especially as hacking and security leaks aren't exactly uncommon in the news, and more and more very personal information is getting stored in the cloud, perhaps I might just keep my fingerprints offline as much as possible.
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2012
    It builds a database of biometric information for hackers to exploit. Unlike a password, a fingerprint can't be changed. So in a few years, good luck convincing your bank that it wasn't really you who emptied your account.
  20. macrumors 604


    Jan 8, 2012
    I was just trying to offer a solution currently.

    I guess I'm lucky in a sense my employer provides my iPhone as a contractor but the powers above them don't allow information pertaining to work on it. But here is my catch, I cannot intentionally give out my fingerprints to a private or public business. That will apply whether the data is stored remotely or not.

    But for the security savvy personal phone its a convenient solution. And regardless of the outcome of the next iPhone my permanent solution.

    And at the expense of sounding greedy I hope there are other features besides that. I imagine there would be considering the astounding number of people that don't even use a passcode.
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2012
    Such data would probably be encrypted. Also, it may not even be stored with Apple (much like how our passcodes aren't in a database).
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2012
    Maybe so, but encryption can be broken and often is. No matter where it's stored -- at Apple, at a third party, on the device or some combination -- it's vulnerable to one extent or another.
  23. macrumors 68020


    Oct 27, 2010
    HR 9038 A
    It'll be like FaceTime and Siri, some will find ways to use it daily to fit their needs while other won't use it at all
  24. macrumors 68040

    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Authentication. And ones on PCs are never used because the Windows driver support is complete garbage. it's not a hardware problem so much...
  25. macrumors 68020

    Oct 26, 2008
    Yeah, just like touch screens failed on laptops.

    I don't use a pass code at all. Hate them. This could be a reasonable compromise if it unlocks the phone quickly.

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