iPhone 8 to Reinvent Touch ID Sensor

Apple's ringed Touch ID sensors have allowed users to use their fingerprint to unlock their phones since the iPhone 5s, but the company may be doing away with them for the iPhone 8.

According to a new report, the company is looking to use a whole new sensor in order to fit it underneath the next iPhone's display panel

Image: charnsitr / Shutterstock

Image: charnsitr / Shutterstock

This latest iPhone 8 rumor comes via prominent Apple-watcher Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at the KGI securities firm. According to 9to5Mac, Kuo says the company is looking to move the sensor under the glass panel in order to achieve zero-bezel design that is currently expected for the iPhone 8.

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The new fingerprint sensor would move from the current capacitive sensor that passes a small current through the finger to map its print to an optical sensor that relies more on photographing the print.

Such a sensor may not even need to live in the bottom center of the home screen. Last October, Tom's Guide reported on a patent from Apple that would allow the entire touch screen to use an electrostatic lens to make accurate fingerprint readings.

Apple will need to make progress on the new sensor quickly, though, as it's still in the early stages of development. Apple may also be facing technical difficulties in producing this sensor, as the fixed-flex OLED screen rumored for the iPhone 8 might create signal interference.

If this new technology isn't ready in time for this year's upcoming iPhone, Apple might instead use a combination of facial recognition detectors and other fingerprint reading technologies. Kuo states that Apple sees face recognition as the future, and that it would replace the sensor altogether.