iPhone 12 could bring back Touch ID with in-screen fingerprint sensor

A Samsung Galaxy S10 5G with in-screen fingerprint sensor
A Samsung Galaxy S10 5G with in-screen fingerprint sensor (Image credit: Future)

While the iPhone 11 may be just around the corner, the 2020 iPhone 12 certainly isn't – and you may have to wait for that distant release if you're hoping for in-screen fingerprint ID in an iPhone, because a new report says that's when it'll be available.

This iPhone 12 leak comes from Bloomberg, which puts out frequent (and fairly accurate) reports on new tech from a select few companies. 

According to sources close to Apple's infrastructure, the company is looking to implement in-screen fingerprint technology in the iPhone 12, although it may even be pushed back to the 2021 iPhones.

In-screen fingerprint technology is a means of opening your phone by simply pressing a thumb or finger on the screen of your phone, and it's seen as a rather premium (yet not Face ID levels of premium) version of having a physical place to press your finger.

Most mid-range and high-end Android phones have in-screen fingerprint sensors (and even a few budget handsets have embraced the tech), so if the report is accurate, Apple would be playing catch-up to other brands. However there's a reason to question the report.

What happened to Face ID?

For the past couple of years, Apple has touted its Face ID system of unlock in newer iPhones and iPads, which replaced the physical Touch ID fingerprint sensor as a means to unlocking your phone, securely logging into apps and approving payments via Apple Pay.

However, if Apple is to embrace in-screen fingerprint sensors, the move would go against its previous assertions of Face ID supremacy, and Apple would contradict itself in a big way.

It's possible Apple may offer both Face ID and the new Touch ID on the iPhone 12 and beyond, but perhaps it's seen how convenient fingerprint sensing is compared to facial recognition (if you're not in the right environments, your iPhone or iPad can struggle to recognize you). 

Apple's previous heel-turns have often been quite subtle, and this would be a big case of it changing its mind.

It's worth, therefore, taking the new report with a pinch of salt. A tasty pinch of salt, because in-screen fingerprint sensors are a solid and useful feature. 

We're not expecting to see this feature on the new iPhone 11, which will launch on September 10, and we'll be reporting live from Cupertino, California to bring you all the latest.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.