Why the New iPhone Fingerprint Scanner is a Gimmick

iPhones haven’t really changed all that much in the last few years. Other than improved specs and slight iterative changes to the operating system very little has really happened which has caused the devices to gradually become less interesting and to lose some of their first ‘wow factor’.

The latest iPhone 5s needed something new to make it stand out then, which is why Apple decided to add a fingerprint scanner on the iPhone home button.

Okay… so it’s not exactly revolutionary, but there’s no denying that it’s certainly a fun gimmick that has a certain ‘James Bond’ appeal. Pretty soon people were online using their dog’s noses to unlock their phones, and many reviewers stated that it felt much more natural than the old unlock mechanism – enough to make them loathe to use the old method at all.

But is this ever going to replace internet security altogether? Will it rid us of the days of CAPTCHA? Or is it really just a gimmick?

The Problem

The problem with the iPhone fingerprint scanner security is of course that anyone can unlock your phone as long as they have one thing – your finger print. That may sound like no problem, but it means that if you fall asleep with your phone in your hand, your prankster friends could very easily gain access and then start updating your Facebook page. More easily than ever before in fact…

Watch a Cat Crack the iPhone Fingerprint Scanner


Apple also allow iPhone owners to authorize purchases from the iTunes store using their fingerprint, but this then creates more potential opportunities for abuse even.

Imagine that you were a smart criminal and you’d released an app on iTunes that you were selling for a thousand dollars – all you’d have to do would be to strong-arm someone in the street into using their finger print and you could get a lot of money from them.

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It also makes it exceedingly easy to accidentally make a purchase when you’re trying to back out and seeing as Apple doesn’t let you refund items… that’s a problem.

Another issue is that the new method of finger print ID only allows you to register a set number of fingers. Most people want to use many fingers on their hand, which then means that they won’t be able to ask their partner/Mum to text them a number when they leave their phone at home.


Of course Apple isn’t stupid (far from it in fact) and so they are more than aware of these problems and have lots of solutions for them. If you can’t get in via the finger print for instance you can always revert to the old codes to get in – which means that the finger print adds about zero extra security to the phone.

Likewise, Apple have ensured you have to use your PIN to make your first purchase of the day. Seeing as most of us won’t be likely to buy more than one app in a single day, that then means that it’s not much more convenient either.

Apple, do better with iPhone 6!


Leslie Kramer (CONTRIBUTOR)

Leslie Kramer, the author of this post, is a freelance blogger, who is currently writing for I.G.S Security, one of the well-known security services in Canada. She is a frequent blogger and in her spare time, she likes to share tips on how to keep your businesses safe and secured.

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