Published: Wed, December 04, 2019
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IPhone 12 might be the first to feature in-display fingerprint sensor

IPhone 12 might be the first to feature in-display fingerprint sensor

Qualcomm has taken the wraps off its next-generation fingerprint scanner as it looks to make smartphones more secure than ever. In a briefing during this year's Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, for example, Qualcomm executive Gordon Thomas said the company wants to produce even bigger sensors of this kind - and, eventually, one that works across basically an entire phone screen, per Macrumors.

Qualcomm's initial 3D Sonic sensor found on the Galaxy S10 had a major security loophole that allowed anyone to bypass the fingerprint scan by using a cheap screen protector. The sensor is now big enough to cover nearly the entirety of the bottom half of a smartphone's display.


Besides new Snapdragon 865 processor hype, Qualcomm also announced new in-display fingerprint reader tech this week. The new 3D Sonic Max sensor offers a recognition area that is 17x larger than the current 3D Sonic sensor, allowing for increased security via simultaneous two-finger authentication, increased speed and ease of use.

Unlike the last 3D Sonic model, the updated 3D Sonic Max sensor identifies what it's sensing with ultrasonic waves on its own hardware and not via algorithms and processing somewhere else on the device. Speaking of the technology, ultrasonic sensors are distinguished from optical versions in that the latter need light from a smartphone to produce an image of a fingerprint. There are reports of Apple using the sensor on at least one of the three iPhones that it plans to launch in 2020, though there is a possibility of the timeframe slipping to 2021.

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