Apple may be ready to put Touch ID under the iPhone screen

iPhone 6S Plus

A bezel-free iPhone has been the dream of Apple fans for many years, but the company may soon be ready to make the idea a reality.

A new patent filed by Apple shows technology allowing the Touch ID fingerprint sensor to be included within the display rather than on a bezel at the bottom of the phone.

It's not new technology – third-party manufacturers have made embedded fingerprint sensors in the past – but it's now the third time the technology has appeared in official Apple patents.

The latest patent focuses on ultrasonic imaging tech that would allow for a more accurate reading than the current capacitive sensor you'd find on the iPhone 6S or iPhone 6S Plus.

Accuracy and ease

The patent reads, "In this type of sensor, two transducers are placed on the x- and y-axes of a plate of glass–one each for receiving and transmitting–for propagating ultrasound waves through a glass plate; when the finger is placed on top of the glass, the finger impedes the waves and the receiving transducer can measure the alteration in wave patterns.

"This type of scanner is very new and largely untested in a variety of conditions, but initial results show promise for the technology. It combines the large plate size and ease of use of the optical scanners with the ability to pervade dirt and residue on the scanner, an advantage of capacitive scanners."

Bringing the fingerprint sensor into the screen would also free up the space at the bottom of the phone and allow Apple to extend the display further down for a truly innovative looking iPhone.

When it will actually come to the iPhone is another question. Last week we heard rumor of an bezel-less iPhone 7S and it may turn out the technology will be ready for the iPhone released in September 2017.

This patent was also filed back in March 2015 so it may turn out the tech is ready to use by next year's iPhone. Just don't expect it to appear in the iPhone 7, which we expect to see in September this year.

Via 9to5Mac

James Peckham

James is the Editor-in-Chief at Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.