iPhone 8 fingerprint scanner might not be where we expected

One of the most ambitious rumors surrounding the iPhone 8 is that it could have a fingerprint scanner built into the screen, and a lot of leaked images support that theory, as most don’t include a home button or any other obvious scanner, but now another possibility has emerged.

An Apple patent published today and spotted by Patently Apple shows a fingerprint scanner being built into the power button of a phone, and activated by either touching or pressing said button.

This would allow Apple to remove the home button, as we’ve seen in leaked images, and keep the back scanner-free. It could mean that the images we’ve seen with no visible scanner are accurate, but that the assumptions – that the scanner would be built into the screen – were wrong.

And there’s further evidence of that too, as many of the leaked photos and sketches of the iPhone 8 show a power button that appears larger than the one on the iPhone 7, suggesting – as we’ve theorized before – that the scanner could be built into it.

Don't count out an in-screen scanner just yet

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. Rumors of a scanner built into the screen have been around a long time and are based on more than just pictures.

Plus, ideas in patents don’t always get used, and in the case of this patent the focus wasn’t even on the power button, but rather methods of bonding a fingerprint scanner to a device, with the power button given as just one placement possibility.

Still, it’s not a new idea – many of Sony’s phones put the fingerprint scanner in the power button, and it seems a much less ambitious solution than sticking it in the screen.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.