It’s been six year, and Touch ID is still superior to Face ID

Michael Beausoleil
7 min readOct 5, 2023

The release of the iPhone 15 has been fairly underwhelming. General consensus: Don’t rush out and buy it. Beyond the USB-C port, there wasn’t a whole lot new. But, I wasn’t looking for anything new, and I was still disappointed. I wanted something old.

I had my fingers crossed for the return of Touch ID.

Face ID icon and Touch ID fingerprint icon

I’ve survived the past five years using Face ID after four years with an iPhone that uses Touch ID. During this time, I’ve become comfortable using the facial recognition tech, but do I like it? Not really. So, when I hear rumors of Touch ID making a return (potentially under the screen), I hope to see it in the iPhone’s next iteration. This year, my hopes were let down, again.

If given the choice, I’d pick Touch ID over Face ID any day. After a half decade of Face ID, I find it offers an inferior user experience compared to Touch ID — at least for a casual iPhone user, and its shortcomings have become increasingly apparent.

Why was Face ID introduced?

To get an idea of why Touch ID hasn’t made a return, we need to take a look at the reason it disappeared. When Apple introduced Face ID, the technology was advertised as an advanced security feature that could “map the geometry of your face.” This allowed it to adjust to natural face changes (like facial hair, glasses, or hairstyles), and the odds of a random person unlocking your iPhone is under 1 in 1,000,000.

But, a big reason Face ID exists is because iPhones now have edge-to-edge displays, and Touch ID requires borders around the phone to house the fingerprint scanner and home button. Sure, Face ID forces iPhone displays to have a notch, but users undeniably have more screen real estate without the home button.

iPad Air Gen 6 with Touch ID in the sleep/wake button
Apple iPad Air 6th gen still has Touch ID in the sleep/wake button

Then, the iPad Air 4th gen was introduced with Touch ID in the sleep/wake button (later, this feature was included on the iPad Mini 6th gen and iPad 10th gen). This allowed an edge-to-edge display with Touch ID — in fact, there isn’t even a notch.

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Michael Beausoleil

User Analytics | Digital & Brand Marketing | Productivity … hoping to explore topics that interest me and find others with similar passions