iPhone 15 Touch ID rumor just shot down — what that means for you

iPhone 14 in hand
(Image credit: Future)

The one iPhone rumor that pops up every year, seemingly without fail, is speculation Apple will finally bring back Touch ID. The iPhone 15 is no exception. But, despite some early speculation, it’s now assumed the fingerprint scanner will not be making a comeback.

A Twitter leaker who goes by the name Unknownz21 has hit back at a recent claim that Touch ID might return with the iPhone 15 — noting there’s nothing to suggest it’s returning in 2023. They claim we’d have heard something about Touch ID, which is codenamed “Mesa”, if it really was planned or being tested.

We first heard some speculation that Touch ID could come to iPhone 15 last August, packaged as part of a report claiming the iPhone 14 would skip the feature. That report proved partially true, since the iPhone 14 didn’t have Touch ID, but that doesn’t mean it will come to iPhone 15.

Mark Gurman, a well known source of reliable Apple information, claims that Apple has no plans to bring Touch ID back to flagship iPhones for the foreseeable future. Flagship being the key word there, since the iPhone SE 2022 still comes packing the same Touch ID home button you’ll find in an old iPhone 8.

A number of iPad models also feature Touch ID in the power button, something Apple included after pivoting to a full-screen display. But more premium iPad Pro models have scrapped fingerprint scanning in favor of Face ID facial recognition.

Will we ever see Touch ID return to iPhone?

Touch ID on an iPad

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Touch ID was last seen on a flagship iPhone in 2017, when Apple simultaneously launched the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. The iPhone X was the first full screen iPhone, and swapped out the fingerprint sensor for Face ID facial recognition — an example followed by all flagship iPhones in the years since.

There have been rumors that Apple could be working on an in-display version of Touch ID ever since the iPhone X launched. But, despite the influx of Android phones that offer this feature, it has yet to appear on any kind of Apple device.

Why this is the case has never been fully explained, though we can speculate. Apple has long-touted the security benefits of Face ID compared to traditional fingerprint scanning. It claims the system is much harder to spoof — less than one in a million, in fact. The system is also apparently aided by the True Depth camera that captures a 3D image of your face, and stops someone unlocking your phone with a picture.

It could also be that Apple has dabbled with in-display Touch ID before, but hasn’t implemented it for a variety of reasons. The obvious one could be that the technology’s performance doesn’t meet Apple’s high standard of quality. There’s also the possibility that implementing the tech would either be too expensive or impractical to implement. 

Interior smartphone space is often at a premium and adding new components means finding a way to Tetris them into place. Considering Face ID is already there as part of the front camera, and works, Apple may not see the benefit of adding a second form of biometric security that may or may not be used.

The iPhone 15 is expected to launch this fall, and you probably shouldn’t expect Touch ID to be among the listed features. We’ll bring you more about the iPhone 15 as we hear it.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.