The new Apple application for Touch ID was published by USPTO, describing in more details the technology behind the feature
Apple Balla reports that Apple was careful not to reveal any details on how exactly its Touch ID works. The same technology covers the sensor for the fingerprint in Apple’s iPhone 5S. All Apple did is ensure its clients that the data on their fingerprint does not go to any server. It remains only in the phone, in its “secure enclave”, completely inaccessible to any hacker or any external device.
In the description of the patent, Apple described in more details how it all functions. The system stores fingerprint info on the portion of the processor named “the enclave”. It also encrypts the info it has registered on user’s fingerprint, making it almost impossible for anyone to tap into the stored data in any form he or she can actually use. The system can check the enclave for any new registered fingerprint, but cannot retrieve the stored info on registered fingerprints for any purpose.
The system pretty much functions as it is expected: it checks the fingerprint of the user and compares it with stored registered profiles looking for a match. In order to facilitate the correct user’s fingerprint ID, the system uses stored lower resolution templates which are based on variables such as different angles.
Apple published another patent recently, showing the hardware components of the Touch ID. In the patent description, Apple explains that the sensor hides behind a printed lens. The lens is printed with so-called “ink assembly.”
These patents help us understand what exactly happens when we press the finger on the 5s screen and it unlock itself like a magic. It is also very reassuring to see how far Apple goes to keep our data safe.