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iPhone 13 may include a modern version of this old favorite feature

(Image credit: Apple)

iPhone 12 is the fourth generation of iPhone to use Face ID with the iPhone SE (2020) now the lone holdout with a Touch ID home button. While Face ID has been largely well-received following some initial growing pains, the challenge of facial recognition with masks during the pandemic has shown that there are times when fingerprint recognition has its advantages.

According to two prominent Apple leakers, @L0vetodream and Jon Prosser, we may see Touch ID back on the iPhone in 2021, albeit in a new and more modern form.

While facial recognition has garnered all of the attention on iPhones, most Android devices have stuck to fingerprint for biometric authentication, using under-display sensors. Leaker @L0vetodream posted the seemingly cryptic tweet below, "MESA uts for iPhone" recently, but "MESA" refers to Touch ID and "uts" is an abbreviation for under the screen.

Now while the assumption is that this refers to the iPhone 13, it would perhaps be an even more welcome addition to an iPhone SE (2021) which would eliminate the home button from all iPhones once and for all. Later, in response to an iPhone 13 wish list that included an in-display fingerprint reader, Jon Prosser gave the possibility of such a thing a "50/50" chance.

For those keeping early tabs on the iPhone 13 spec sheet, Prosser also joined many others in saying that USB Type-C will never come to the iPhone. It's something that the new MagSafe charging seems to make considerably more believable and that the iPhone 13 will absolutely feature a 120Hz display.

In-display fingerprint readers still don't deliver quite the speed and accuracy of a high-end standard reader like what is found on the Pixel 5. But in the last few years, they have improved dramatically to the point that it is quite plausible that Apple would employ it in the iPhone. 

It's important to remember that this far out from an iPhone release, even some of the most reliable leakers are prone to misses as changes can still happen with a full year to go. We have seen the iPad Air 4 introduce a Touch ID sensor in the power button, it's certainly possible that Apple would go this route instead even if it did want Touch ID back as an option for the iPhone.

For now, we're just looking forward to some of the new features that Apple has brought to bear in the iPhone 12. However we'll have to wait and see what future leaks reveal about the iPhone 13.