It’s been rumored for years that Apple has been working on putting its Face ID sensors under the iPhone’s screen so they’re invisible, but it looks like we could be years away from that happening.
According to Ross Young (opens in new tab) – a reliable leaker – (via 9to5Mac (opens in new tab)) the company’s under-display Face ID plans are expected to be delayed for at least a year, until 2025 or later, due to sensor issues.
This would mean the iPhone 17 (or more likely the iPhone 17 Pro or Ultra) would be the first iPhones to feature Face ID below the screen. And that sounds like a best case scenario as it could be pushed beyond 2025.
When it does happen, it probably means a full screen iPhone where the front camera components are also hidden under the screen. But at the very least it would mean only a tiny hole for the selfie camera would probably be left exposed, closer in style to what you’d see on many Android phones.
Bottom panel Face ID is now expected to be pushed at least a year to 2025 or later due to sensor issues.March 9, 2023
Interestingly, however, in another report – this time from leaker yeux1122 on the South Korean blog Naver (opens in new tab) – it’s rumored that Apple might bring back its Touch ID fingerprint sensors at a later date.
They say that two to three years after implementing Face ID under the screen, Apple will add Touch ID to iPhones under the screen. Of course, this is all a long way off if this report is accurate, as the feature won’t appear for the iPhone 19 at the earliest, assuming Young’s report is also accurate.
It’s not the first time we’ve heard of under-screen Touch ID, though, which presumably sounds a lot like the under-screen fingerprint sensors found in most modern Android phones, from the high-end Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra to the fairly cheap OnePlus Nord 2.
However, it sounds like this feature would be for more than just security, as the report adds that it could potentially do things like heart rate and blood oxygen readings. So it could help users collect health and fitness data, which has become a real focus for Apple since the launch of the Apple Watch.
While we’re taking this with a grain of salt for now, the addition of those kinds of features could be reason enough for Apple to bring back Touch ID.
Opinion: Touch ID should never have disappeared
Face ID is usually great, but it’s not perfect. For example, until recently it didn’t work if you were wearing a mask or something like that – and now that it does, you’ll need to reduce Face ID’s accuracy in exchange for the added convenience.
Depending on how you hold your device (if you’re holding it at all), it can also be a bit of a pain to put it in a corner where Face ID works.
These are nit picks, but they show that it remains an imperfect system, so it would be appreciated to have Touch ID as an option for situations where Face ID isn’t ideal.
We’re not suggesting that Apple should switch back to pure Touch ID, but either option would add an extra level of convenience. And if Apple really plans to bring back Touch ID, it would almost certainly be as good as Face ID, rather than instead.
With either system, Apple would have a clear edge over the top Android phones when it comes to biometric security, while currently it largely boils down to personal preference for facial or fingerprint recognition.