When Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) released the iPhone 5S back in September, its flashiest and most impressive feature was the Touch ID fingerprint scanner located on the home button, which allows users to unlock the device simply by swiping their fingerprint.
Touch ID makes it easier for iPhone users to secure data stored on their devices, and it secures that data better than a four-digit passcode. No two fingerprints are alike, a fingerprint is something you always have with you, and using it doesn’t require you to remember anything.
But users have found the technology more difficult to manage than had originally been hoped. Sometimes the sensor has a difficult time reading fingerprints and will give a false negative on prints that should unlock the phone. A report from Wired explains Apple’s use of fingerprint identification more thoroughly and points out some good tricks to getting the most accurate reading when using Touch ID.
First of all, having clean hands that are not too dry is key to getting a good fingerprint reading. Each time the iPhone 5S reads your fingerprint, it adds to its knowledge of what your print looks like to better guarantee you will get good readings in the future. But if your hands are too dry or if there’s debris like dirt, oil, or hand lotion filling in the valleys of your fingerprint, the sensor won’t be able to get a good reading.
You should also make sure that your finger not only touches the sapphire home button but also the stainless steel ring surrounding it for the sensor to pick up as large an image of your print as it can. The bigger the image the sensor gets, the more easily it can recognize your fingerprint.
The iPhone 5S is capable of storing data on up to five different fingerprints, allowing family members access to your phone if they need it, as well. But according to a troubleshooting guide from the Mac Observer, the more prints you have stored on your phone, the longer it will take for the software to recognize the print. So if there are fingerprints stored on your device that you don’t really need, deleting them will make unlocking your phone faster.
Wired also pointed out that the algorithm the iPhone 5S uses to read fingerprints could be improved with future iOS updates, so over time, the sensor will only become more accurate. Taking the time to get a good fingerprint reading each time you unlock your iPhone 5S is well worth the heightened security using Touch ID provides, and the process will be easier in the future as Apple improves its algorithm.
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