Apple’s under-display Touch ID tech won’t feature in iPhone 13

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Touch ID may never return to high-end iPhone models.
Concept: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple won’t bring Touch ID back with iPhone 13 this year, despite testing new technology that would allow the fingerprint scanner to be hidden away under an iPhone’s screen, according to one reliable reporter.

Earlier reports have claimed Apple is working to bring Touch ID back to iPhone as an alternative to Face ID for those who want it. But the feature “won’t make the cut” for Apple’s big smartphone refresh this fall.

A number of Apple’s biggest rivals in the smartphone space, including Samsung, are now building both facial recognition and fingerprint scanning into their newest handsets. And rumor has it that Apple plans to do the same.

Cupertino has reportedly been developing and testing its own under-display fingerprint scanner, likely similar to Samsung’s, which would allow users to touch iPhone’s screen to unlock it. Some claimed it would appear this year.

But according to reliable Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, that won’t happen.

Touch ID won’t return for iPhone 13

In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman claims Apple’s plans have shifted for iPhone 13 and now under-display fingerprint scanning won’t feature. In fact, Touch ID may never return to high-end iPhone models.

Instead, Apple’s eventual goal is to put Face ID under iPhone’s display, rather than Touch ID, Gurman says. This could would day allow the company to eliminate iPhone’s notch for a truly edge-to-edge display.

It is believed Touch ID could one day be integrated into iPhone’s power button — like on iPad Air — on more affordable models. But high-end flagships, like iPhone 13, could stick with Face ID exclusively.

iOS 14.5 to blame?

It’s not clear why Apple’s plans for Touch ID have changed, but it could have something to do with iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4, which introduced the ability to unlock iPhone with Apple Watch rather than relying on Face ID.

The feature was designed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic — so that users wouldn’t have to remove their face covering to get into their iPhone while they are working with others or out in public.