Touch ID is an extremely useful tool built into your iPhone or iPad from 2013 or newer. Integrated into the Home button, this function scans your fingerprint to immediately unlock your device. You can configure up to five fingerprints to save on your iPhone or iPad. You can also use Touch ID to validate your login credentials within hundreds of apps on the App Store, getting rid of typing out those pesky 10-character passwords every time you want to check your bank account. And Touch ID also works with Apple Pay, which authenticates your purchase in any retail store that accepts it, all with the touch of the Home button.
This tool bypasses the need to “Slide to Unlock” and then enter a passcode (or worse, a password) every time you want to use your device. Though you are required a passcode or password to use Touch ID, you only have to enter it when your device reboots or when you haven’t used Touch ID for 48 hours.
We have lots of customers that come in with Touch ID-enabled devices but don’t use the function because of security concerns. That’s why we’re writing this post—to address your reservations about Touch ID.
The most common concern I hear from customers is: “I don’t want Apple storing my fingerprint on their servers!” I won’t lie, this thought went through my mind the first time I was introduced to Touch ID. But rest assured; your fingerprints aren’t stored in iCloud or anywhere on Apple’s servers. Rather, they’re stored locally on your device. You’ll notice that if you ever have to restore your device, even if you log into your iCloud or Apple ID, you’ll have to reconfigure the fingerprints. Not only are they stored locally, but they’re concealed by industry-standard encryption, which means that even if someone managed to get into your device, they wouldn’t be able to locate where your fingerprints are stored.
Another concern, albeit a little extreme, is: “What if someone cuts off my thumb?!” This thought also ran through my head, more out of curiosity than anything else. First of all, if someone’s willing to cut off your thumb just to gain access to your iPhone, you must have some CIA intelligence documents on there! But even CIA operatives don’t have to worry about that, because the fingerprint reader won’t recognize a dismembered phalange.
Why, you ask? Glad you did, because it’s super interesting. The Touch ID sensor reads your fingerprint at a sub-dermal level. This means that it doesn’t scan your dead skin cells on the surface of your finger; it scans the new, living skin underneath. Dead thumb = dead skin.
What it boils down to is this: you hate putting in so many passwords, and you want the benefit of maximum security without the hassle and frustration of setting a strong password, then having to remember it and type it in every time. So use Touch ID! Don’t be afraid of it—it’s there to protect you.
Come on in if you have any questions about Touch ID or need help setting it up, and join us here next week to learn about Apple Pay!