About three months back, right at the start of December, we talked to you about some problems that had been coming to our attention concerning the performance of the Touch ID sensor in the iPhone 5S. What started off for many users as a relatively successful interaction with Touch ID started changing shape over time, and as the weeks passed some found the phones struggling to accept fingerprint authentication. We heard a number of theories for why this might be happening, as well as several idea for mitigating the issue, but it ultimately remained. Now we get word that Apple could finally be doing something about this, by means of a new software update.
Unfortunately, the rumor is pretty darn light on the details: there’s no mention of what in specific Apple might be hoping to change in order to improve Touch ID accuracy over time. Despite that glaring omission, AppleInsider’s source is confident that the update will be arriving “relatively soon,” though there’s no assurance that it will arrive in time to be part of iOS 7.1.
One of the prevailing theories back in December was that these issues may stem from micro-scratches on the Touch ID scanner’s sapphire crystal cover, distorting the detection of the fine details making up fingerprint ridges. That had us worried that a fix might not be possible without introducing all new hardware, but assuming this rumor is at all based in fact, that no longer looks like it might be the case.