Apple equipped the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro with a host of exciting features/upgrades — but is Touch ID among them? While the initial reaction to the iPhone 13 series was that it was a ‘boring’ upgrade for Apple, it’s since been proven that the phones have a surprising amount to offer. The cameras are better than ever, battery life is substantially improved, and the displays look gorgeous (especially with the 120Hz setting on the 13 Pro lineup). For anyone shopping for a new iPhone right now, it’s hard to go wrong with anything in the iPhone 13 family.
As well-crafted as the iPhone 13 is, the rumor mill leading up to its launch teased a few features that didn’t make the cut. It was reported that the iPhone 13 would feature an always-on display, USB-C charging, and possibly 120Hz refresh rates for every single model — all things that aren’t true of the final products. Another big rumor for the iPhone 13 was that it would have a Touch ID fingerprint sensor somewhere, either under the display or built into the power button. This got many folks looking forward to an iPhone 13 with Face ID and Touch ID available on one device. So, is that what actually happened?
Unfortunately, the short answer is no. As convenient as it would be for Apple to integrate Touch ID into an iPhone along with the usual Face ID sensors, that’s simply not the case. There’s no fingerprint sensor underneath the screen, nothing in the power button, or anywhere else on the phone. Just like the iPhone 12, 11, XS, and X that came before it, the iPhone 13 relies solely on Face ID for biometric authentication.
Why The IPhone 13 Doesn’t Have Touch ID
According to a lot of folks online, not including Touch ID on the iPhone 13 was a huge miss for Apple. Face ID is still a great feature, but having Touch ID would also be incredibly convenient. However, there are probably some very good reasons why that’s not how the iPhone 13 turned out. For one thing, including Touch ID and Face ID would have been an added cost for Apple. Two forms of biometric sensors are more expensive than one, and for a company that values high profit margins, it makes sense to avoid an extra expense if it isn’t necessary. It’s also important to consider how Apple would implement Touch ID on a device like the iPhone 13. If Touch ID was integrated into the power button, it would require Apple to completely redesign its first-party cases to make the sensor available. The other option would have been hiding it underneath the display, but current in-screen fingerprint sensor technology likely isn’t good enough for Apple’s standards.
None of this is to defend Apple’s choice of not including Touch ID on the iPhone 13. Instead, it should provide some insight into how Apple justified not including the functionality. In Apple’s eyes, it was likely an unneeded expense, something that would create a less-than-perfect user experience, and an issue it’s already addressed with its Apple Watch workaround. One can hope a future iPhone finally combines Face ID and Touch ID together, but the iPhone 13 is not that device.
Will Touch ID Ever Come Back To IPhones?
Unfortunately, fans of Touch ID will need to keep waiting a while longer for the feature to make a comeback. As it stands, all rumors are pointing to Touch ID also not returning on the iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro. It looks like Apple’s found a way to hide the Face ID notch, but nowhere is it indicated that Touch ID will also be present.
Will that change for the iPhone 15? Maybe the iPhone 16? It’s all too early to say at this point. It’s possible Apple adds Touch ID to a future iPhone model as a supplement to Face ID. What’s just as likely though — if not more so — is Apple’s continued and exclusive focus on Face ID. There hasn’t been a Touch ID sensor on a mainline iPhone since the iPhone 8, and based on everything we’ve seen, there’s no sign of that changing any time soon.
This 2022 IPhone Has Touch ID
While it’s clear that Apple’s flagship iPhone series doesn’t seem likely to bring back the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, there is a new iPhone model that has this feature. The iPhone SE 3 launched in 2022 brings back the old physical home button with the Touch ID sensor. There’s a reason for this, since the iPhone SE is meant to be a cheaper option for those who want to own an iPhone without breaking the bank. The iPhone SE 3 recycles the same design as previous iPhone SE phones, and it was likely cheaper for Apple to reuse the design instead of coming up with something entirely new. Either way, for buyers who really want a Touch ID sensor, the iPhone SE 3 is the best option.
That said, it’s not like Apple hasn’t experimented with Touch ID fingerprint sensors. The iPad Air and iPad mini both feature Touch ID sensors integrated into the power button at the top, which perform just as efficiently as those in the Home button. However, Apple’s Face ID is a much more secure method of unlocking a phone. It uses a combination of a depth map and infrared image, and works with sunglasses, spectacles, hats, and even masks. Apple has invested a lot of time and money into developing what is arguably the best face unlock technology on any smartphone, and it seems unlikely the company will forgo it for a Touch ID sensor on its flagship iPhones.