It's been five years since Apple launched Face ID, and stripped flagship iPhones (and eventually iPads) of their Touch ID fingerprint scanners. In that time there has been a never-ending stream of rumors that this year could be the year Touch ID makes a return. But according to Mark Gurman, you shouldn’t bet on it happening to the iPhone 15.
Gurman said as much in his latest Power On newsletter, during the subscriber-exclusive Q&A section, noting he believes that Face ID is here to stay and that Touch ID won’t be returning to flagship iPhones in the foreseeable future.
Gurman claims that Apple has been discussing the possibility of reintroducing Touch ID. The company has reportedly been testing in-screen fingerprint scanners, and has considered adding fingerprint recognition to the power button — as it did with the iPad Air 2020 and iPad mini 2021.
Gurman suggests that we may see Touch ID move to the power button on a future iPhone SE model. The logic here is that it would mimic the split we already have between Face and Touch ID on high and low-end iPads. But Gurman is quick to point out he hasn’t heard anything about this, and he’s just speculating.
Back when Face ID was introduced on the iPhone X, there were rumors Apple had wanted to include an in-display fingerprint scanner as well. But this was 2017, before in-display fingerprint scanners could be found on anything other than concept phones. Things have changed in the years since, and now just about every flagship Android has an in-display fingerprint scanner.
iPhones have stuck with Face ID ever since. The only exception has been the iPhone SE 2020 and iPhone SE 2022, which lack a near edge-to-edge display, and stick with the classic Touch ID-enabled home button last seen on the iPhone 8.
Of course, the facial recognition system has changed and improved over the years. The iPhone 14 Pro, for instance, shrunk the necessary sensors down more than ever before — leaving us with the relatively small footprint of the Dynamic Island.
For what it’s worth Apple has always maintained that Face ID is inherently more secure than Touch ID ever was. So we were never going to see the company change course, and kill Face ID ready for Touch ID to make a triumphant return. But that doesn’t prevent Apple from offering both, and giving users a choice between the two.
Other phone companies have gone down this route, to limited success. Though the case could be made that they never put as much time and effort into developing facial recognition. Not the same way Apple did, anyway. It’s yet another thing that could help iPhones stand out, not that the company needs much help selling new units.
It’s not clear why Apple has such a vendetta against Touch ID, and Gurman didn’t elaborate on the matter. But all it means is that Face ID is here to stay, and it’s going to be your only non-passcode option for the iPhone 15 and beyond.
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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.