When Apple announced the iPhone X, it also announced the death knell for Touch ID as far as the company's smartphone lineup is concerned. It saw a bit more life with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, but the writing's on the wall: Touch ID is on the way out.
Apple is putting its eggs in the facial recognition basket, thanks to the TrueDepth Camera system and Face ID. Way back in September, while Apple executives were taking turns walking up on stage to talk about the new phone and its features, the company espoused Face ID's strengths. It's a biometric security measure that's better and more secure than Touch ID, and that's why they're switching to it.
Up until that point, and even for a few weeks after the iPhone X's official debut, there was speculation about Apple keeping a fingerprint reader around for a bit longer, with the company going the same route as companies like Samsung, LG, Google, and others. That would mean putting the fingerprint reader on the back of the iPhone, because embedding it into the display wasn't an option.
I wonder, sometimes, if Apple would have gone with embedding the fingerprint reader in the display if it could have.
(Of course, the Apple executives who have spoken on the matter say they've only ever planned on switching to Face ID for the iPhone X, and fingerprint readers weren't considered at all. Which makes sense! Go for broke.)
Lately, though, I've been finding myself wondering if the iPhone X had Touch ID --whether embedded in the display, on the back, or even in the Power button on the side-- would I be using Face ID at all?
The question popped into my mind recently when I was speaking with a friend of mine who was reticent to pick up the iPhone X at launch because they weren't sure if they were willing to give up the fingerprint reader just yet. We met up to get some food not too long ago and they used Apple Pay to get their meal, but they didn't use Face ID to authenticate the purchase, instead opting to input their PIN.
"You're not using Face ID?" I asked.
"Nope. Too awkward more often than not, especially when I'm trying to buy something. Takes too long, too." And then they added: "I miss Touch ID."
I asked, half jokingly, if they were considering picking up an iPhone 8 Plus to go back to the fingerprint reader, and while they finally told me they weren't planning on giving up the iPhone X, it definitely wasn't an immediate answer.
I probably would've agreed with everything my friend said right after the iPhone X launched, but, now, months later, I've gotten accustomed to Face ID. No, it isn't as fast as the latest-generation Touch ID, but I don't think it's slow, either.
As for purchases, I've had to adjust to authenticating a forthcoming transaction sooner than I would have with Touch ID. Previously I'd just prepare Apple Pay by double clicking the Home button, hold the phone over the terminal, and bam. Authenticate and finalize the purchase at the same time. But with Face ID I've got to make sure that the phone's TrueDepth Camera can see me to authenticate, then put the phone near the terminal. It's not an extra step, technically, just a slight adjustment. It's fine.
I think Touch ID is plenty secure (so does Apple, for the record), and with that being said I'm pretty sure that if I could have the fingerprint sensor feature on my iPhone X (or future model) and Face ID, I'd still opt for the fingerprint reader as my default option.
I'm sure that sentiment will change eventually, especially as Face ID gets better and even faster. But for now there are definitely days I miss Touch ID. What about you? If you own an iPhone X have you been won over by Face ID at this point, or do you miss Touch ID more often than not? And if you're an Android phone user with a supported device, how do you like the fact you've got multiple biometric security options? Let me know!