iPhone 13: Apple reportedly tested under-screen Touch ID, but will it make it to market?

Design mockups of iPhone 13 models
(Image credit: EverythingApplePro)

Apple will reportedly officially announce the iPhone 13 in September, but thanks to an onslaught of leaks, we already know quite a bit about its rumored specs and features. A new leak reveals a juicy, behind-the-scenes rumor that Apple was testing an under-display Touch ID prototype for the iPhone 13.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman tapped into his Apple insider sources and discovered that the Cupertino-based tech giant experimented with the concept of adding fingerprint sensors under the display, however, the design will not make it to the final production stage (via BGR).

In-screen Touch ID may come to the iPhone, but not this year

Four years ago, Apple ditched Touch ID in favor of Face ID, allowing Apple to offer more screen real estate to consumers. However, the Cupertino-based tech giant didn't foresee a life-altering pandemic sweeping the world, prompting legislators to enforce mask mandates. As such, having a Face ID-only device has become inconvenient and Apple users have been yearning for Touch ID's return.

Apple tried to rectified this issue by allowing mask-wearing users to unlock their device by using a watchOS device, but not everyone wants to buy an Apple Watch just to access their iPhone. That being said, Apple tried to reintroduce an under-display Touch ID feature to the iPhone 13, but it did not perform up to Apple's standards.

“While Apple had tested in-screen Touch ID for the next flagship iPhones, it won’t make the cut this year," Gurman said in the Power On newsletter. "I believe Apple is all-in on Face ID for its higher-end iPhones and its long-term goal is to implement Face ID in the display itself.”

In other words, Apple may be redirecting its focus toward implementing a Face ID under-display feature — not a Touch ID one (though Touch ID won't be completely out of the picture). Apple reportedly plans to mimic Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 3 under-display camera design.

According to 9to5Mac, Bloomberg said Apple's under-display Face ID design could manifest in two ways: high-end iPhones will feature in-screen Face ID while the low-tier models get in-screen Touch ID or the pricier models get in-screen Face ID while the low-tier iPhones feature Face ID sensors in the notch.

Although we won't be getting any snazzy in-screen sensors with the iPhone 13, rumors are pointing to other exciting features, such as a 120Hz refresh-rate display, up to 1TB of storage in the top-tier models, a zippy A15 chip and brand-spankin' new camera sensors.

To keep abreast on all the latest iPhone 13 news, check out our oft-updated rumor hub here.

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!