What is Touch ID on iPhone, iPad, and Mac?

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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 explain why it is 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 is useful because it allows device owners to verify their identities without having to repeatedly enter PINs or passwords. Your Touch ID fingerprint information is encrypted locally in a “Secure Enclave” and cannot be accessed by Apple or other companies.

Apple first introduced Touch ID on the iPhone 5S in 2013. In 2014, Apple added Touch ID to the iPad Air 2 and it came to the MacBook Pro (4th generation) in 2016, appearing alongside the Touch Bar. In 2021, Apple began selling a separate Magic Keyboard with Touch ID for Mac M1. Since the 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 navigate 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.

A person using Touch ID on an iPhone.
oatawa / Shutterstock.com

To use Touch ID, gently place your finger on the sensor surface, which is located on the home button on some iPhones, the home button or top button on certain iPads, and in a special corner on some MacBook Pro keyboards. and Mac. models

Which Apple devices support Touch ID?

As of May 2022, Apple has embedded Touch ID sensors in at least 48 different products, from iPhones to keyboards. Here is a list of Apple devices that support Touch ID.

iPhone

  • iPhone SE (2022)
  • iPhone SE (2020)
  • iPhone SE (2016)
  • iPhone 8 plus
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 7 plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 6s plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6 plus
  • Iphone 6
  • Iphone 5s

iPad

  • iPad Air (fifth generation)
  • iPad (9th generation)
  • iPad mini (6th generation)
  • iPad Air (4th generation)
  • iPad (8th generation)
  • iPad (7th generation)
  • iPad mini (fifth generation)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation)
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • iPad (fifth generation)
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch
  • ipad mini 4
  • ipadmini 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
  • Touch ID Magic Keyboard
  • 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 masks during the COVID-19 pandemic provided a good reason to prefer Touch ID. Apple added mask unlocking to make Face ID more useful for people who wear masks.