Apple is notoriously tight lipped about security, usually letting the glitz of its products do the talking (and also not needing to ask trouble). But in Cupertino at iPhone 5c launch event and this week’s iPhone 5s, security was one of the largest characteristics touted by the notoriously design-driven company. True, lots of the attention was focused on theintegrated fingerprint reader in the flagshipiPhone 5s, but with these new phones and the new iOS 7, Apple has doubled down on mobile security. Apple’s choice to contain a fingerprint reader in the iPhone 5s is creating lots of discussion, though not totally unexpected. Unlike other fingerprint readers, the iPhone 5s reads your prints in the house buttonwhich every iPhone user presses already. A sapphire lens lets the detector get a clear picture of an inner layer of skin, which Apple says gives it the greatest view of your loops, arches, and whorls.
Apple said fingerprint information would be encrypted and stored on its A7 chipnot on iCloud, and not shared with any third-party programs. Also, the Wall Street Journal reported that the iPhone 5s would not save pictures of your fingerprint, but rather “fingerprint data.”
A fingerprint reader that folks really use has the possibility to change how authentication works in all devices. It is also not unlikely that we’ll see other smartphone makers taking an interest in biometric authenticationthere’s already a device that uses your heart beat which then will encourage organizations like banks and retailers to adopt biometrics. If nothing else, it might get that sluggish 50 percent of iPhone users to at least lock their phones.
Thankfully, Apple doesn’t see fingerprints on the iPhone 5s as the be-all and end-all of authentication. The company told the Wall Street Journal that a particular passcode must be used to unlock a rebooted phone or a cellphone which hasn’t been unlocked for 48 hours.
Apple beat Android to the punch when it created Find My iPhone, a service that can track, lock, and wipe lost or stolen mobiles. It’s an absolutely must-have service for any iPhone user, and Apple is making it even better in iOS 7.
But the largest change is after you wipe your iOS device what occurs to it. At this time, wiping your device means ceding it to a robber, sans your data (unless you called your wireless provider first). Not too anymore. “Discover My iPhone can also continue to exhibit a custom message,” that is, flash on screen a message that you just write from another Internet-connected device via your iCloud account, “even after your device is erased,” according to Apple’s site. “And your Apple ID and password are required before anyone can reactivate it.”