Before the iPhone X arrived, rumors hinted that Apple was working on an in-display fingerprint scanner. As we know now, this didn’t pan out since the handset only came with Face ID. However, it seems like the brand did at least consider the possibility of having both security options in the same iPhone.
Patently Apple spotted this tantalizing possibility in a new patent filed by Apple at the European Patent Office. The document starts by pointing out that biometric options like face or fingerprint scanning are very convenient, but the former can be a pain since the user has to perfectly align their face both during enrollment and authentication.
Apple Combines Face ID And Touch ID
This is why Face ID asks the owner to turn their head when they’re enrolling their face. However, there are still chances the scanner won’t pick up the face properly and refuse to let the user in. In such a scenario, they can either try again or enter an alternative form of biometric authentication.
That’s where things get interesting. Apple has included an illustration of an iPhone which features a pop-up stating “Face Not Recognized” and offering three different choices. One of those options is none other than Touch ID. The second image has a window with a fingerprint on it to further drive home the point.
The third drawing offers “Use Device Passcode” as yet another alternative. Apple clearly decided to go with this third choice in the iPhone X and its spinoffs. There’s nothing in the patent which suggests that the brand will go back to Touch ID in the future. Still, the fact that it was even considering this possibility is a positive sign for fans of fingerprint sensors.
It would be convenient to offer both Touch ID and Face ID on an iPhone. The former would have to be located underneath the display since the Home button is gone. We don’t know how far Apple has come in that kind of technology. Several Android manufacturers have included it in their phones, so the tech is out there.
9to5Mac points out that there’s also some talk about facial recognition on smartwatches. The Apple Watch doesn’t support Face ID, but future versions could if the TrueDepth Camera technology progresses to the point where it can be placed on a tiny display.