Some Apple iPhone, iPad and Mac models include an authentication feature called “Touch ID”, which allows you to use your fingerprint to verify your identity. We’ll tell you why it’s useful and how it works.
What is Touch ID?
Touch ID is a biometric security feature that scans a user’s fingerprint to enable logins, purchases, and more. It’s useful because it allows device owners to verify their identity without having to repeatedly enter PINs or passwords. Your Touch ID fingerprint information is encrypted locally in a “Secure Enclave” and is not accessible by Apple or other companies.
Apple first introduced Touch ID on the iPhone 5S in 2013. Apple added Touch ID to the iPad Air 2 in 2014, and it came to the MacBook Pro (fourth generation) in 2016, appearing alongside of the Touch Bar. In 2021, Apple started selling a standalone Magic Keyboard with Touch ID for M1 Macs. Since iPhone X in 2017, most new iPhone models use Face ID instead of Touch ID for biometric security.
To set up Touch ID on iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app and go to “Touch ID & Passcode”, enter your passcode and add a fingerprint. On the same Settings page, you can choose which features Touch ID works with, including unlocking your device, Apple Pay, and more. To set up Touch ID on a Mac that supports it, open System Preferences and click “Touch ID.”
RELATED: How to Add More Touch ID Fingers to Your Mac
How does Touch ID work?
Touch ID uses a special capacitive sensor module that creates a map of your fingerprint using a small electrical current. The device can read your fingerprint from any angle and store multiple fingerprints in its secure enclave.
To use Touch ID, gently place your finger on the sensor surface, which is located in the home button on some iPhones, the home button or top button on some iPads, and in a special corner on some MacBook keyboards Pro and Mac. models.
Which Apple devices support Touch ID?
Since May 2022, Apple has integrated Touch ID sensors into at least 48 different products, ranging from iPhones to keyboards. Here is a list of Apple devices that support Touch ID.
- iPhone SE (2022)
- iPhone SE (2020)
- iPhone SE (2016)
- iPhone 8Plus
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 7Plus
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 6s Plus
- iPhone 6s
- iPhone 6Plus
- Iphone 6
- iphone 5s
- iPad Air (5th generation)
- iPad (9th generation)
- iPad Mini (6th generation)
- iPad Air (4th generation)
- iPad (8th generation)
- iPad (7th generation)
- iPad Mini (5th generation)
- iPad Air (3rd generation)
- iPad (6th generation)
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2nd generation)
- 10.5-inch iPad Pro
- iPad (5th generation)
- 9.7-inch iPad Pro
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro
- iPad mini 4
- iPad mini 3
- iPad Air 2
Macs and keyboards
- MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021)
- MacBook Pro (14-inch, 2021)
- Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and numeric keypad
- Magic Keyboard with Touch ID
- MacBook Pro (13 inch, M1, 2020)
- MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020, four Thunderbolt 3 ports)
- MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2020)
- MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
- MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2019)
- MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2019)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019, four Thunderbolt 3 ports)
- MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2018)
- MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2018, four Thunderbolt 3 ports)
- MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2017, four Thunderbolt 3 ports)
- MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, four Thunderbolt 3 ports)
While it looked like Face ID would completely replace Touch ID for a while, the use of face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic provided a strong reason to prefer Touch ID. Apple added mask unlock to make Face ID more useful for people wearing masks.