Wednesday, April 23, 2014

iOS 7.1.1 Behind the Scenes of Touch ID


With iOS 7.1.1 Apple now takes multiple scans of each position you place finger at setup instead of a single one and uses algorithms to predict potential errors that could arise in the future. Touch ID was supposed to gradually improve accuracy with every scan but the problem was if you didn’t scan well on setup it would ruin your experience until you re-setup your finger. iOS 7.1.1 not only removes that problem and increases accuracy but also greatly reduces the calculations your iPhone 5S had to make while unlocking the device which means you should get a much faster unlock time.

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As I complained about on Twitter yesterday, I had to restore my iPhone 5s after the 7.1.1 update rendered it unbootable. Among other things, this involved setting up Touch ID again. I definitely noticed that it took many more attempts and more careful attempts to satisfy the fingerprint scanner. For what it’s worth, I haven’t had a single failure to unlock today (except when I tried to use my left thumb and forgot I hadn’t enrolled it yet). I've noticed the unlock time seems to be more variable than before, but haven't yet had a chance to test with some of the things that used to trip up 7.0 particularly (wet/dry skin).

Really happy to see Apple iterating on these kinds of features, but wish they would do it a bit more with the less visible ones.

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