Apple patent hints in-display fingerprint sensor could be coming to the iPhone

Could Apple be preparing to bring Touch ID back from the dead?

While we’re months away from the release of Apple’s next iPhone, a recently filed patent hints that the company is experimenting with in-display fingerprint technology.

In typical Apple fashion, while the tech giant won’t be the first to release a smartphone equipped with an in-display fingerprint sensor, this patent indicates that its take on the technology could feature the best implementation.

Rather than an ultrasonic scanner that utilizes pulses to map your fingerprint like the technology featured in Samsung’s Galaxy S10, or the in-display fingerprint technology included in the OnePlus 6T and Huawei Mate 20 that snaps a photograph of your fingerprint, Apple is taking a different route.

iPhone in-display fingerprint patent


Apple’s system uses what it calls ‘acoustic imaging’ to create high-resolution texture maps of an object. This means that the technology would take into account ridges on the finger, scars and other defining characteristics, according to the patent. The patent goes on to describe how this tech could even be used to map people’s ears or cheeks, which would be an interesting move on Apple’s part.

More interestingly though, this technology would allow the user’s fingerprint to be authenticated anywhere on the phone’s display, making the process more intuitive and less finicky.

To be clear, just because Apple has filed a patent, it doesn’t necessarily mean this technology will actually make its way to the next iPhone.

Apple first ditched its physical Touch ID fingerprint sensor for Face ID facial recognition authentication with the release of the iPhone X back in November of 2017. All of Apple’s current iPhones, including the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR feature Face ID, with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus being the only devices that still feature Touch ID.

Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Via: Patently Apple