September 26, 2022
TPROduction / Shutterstock.com Under-display fingerprint scanners were supposed to be great. Just put your finger on the touch screen like you would anyway, and a built-in sensor unlocks the phone. That was the dream, but in reality, they’re worse than the alternatives. A Brief History of Fingerprint Scanners Fingerprint scanners first appeared on smartphones in…

TPROduction / Shutterstock.com

Under-display fingerprint scanners were supposed to be great. Just put your finger on the touch screen like you would anyway, and a built-in sensor unlocks the phone. That was the dream, but in reality, they’re worse than the alternatives.

A Brief History of Fingerprint Scanners

Fingerprint scanners first appeared on smartphones in the 2010s. Apple launched the iPhone 5S with a fingerprint scanner in 2013, and Samsung followed suite with the Galaxy Note 4 a year later.

These first fingerprint readers were using capacitive technology. The sensor is covered in tiny electrodes, and the capacity between the electrodes is how your fingerprint is scanned. It changes depending on the distance between ridges on your finger.

By the end of the 2010s, the vast majority of smartphones included fingerprint scanners. However, change was coming. Apple started moving toward facial recognition with Face ID in 2017. Meanwhile, Android manufacturer Vivo was implementing the first in-display fingerprint scanners.

Nowadays, Apple has all but abandoned fingerprint scanners for Face ID—only the “retro” iPhone…

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