Consumers and analysts had a feeling of dÃ©jÃ vu when
) unveiled the latest model in its iPhone line back in September.
Largely unchanged from its previous version, the iPhone 5S did gain
one noticeable change to its hardware in its half-measure "S"
upgrade: a fingerprint scanner in the home button. Dubbed Touch ID,
the scanner and software would unlock the phone at the press of a
user's finger rather than requiring a four-digit passcode. The
system gained mild acclaim for acting as a security incentive for
users who found it too slow or cumbersome to implement a passcode
to unlock their phones.
Unfortunately, many are finding that Touch ID is too fickle to be
effective, signaling Apple may have rushed the feature to
production before it was perfected.
entitled "Touch ID being Erratic" is bursting at the seams with
responses on Apple's support forums. At the time of this writing,
it's currently at 30 pages with over 27,000 views.
Users are chiming in on social media and elsewhere to report that
Touch ID has failed them -- some get a success rate of 90%, others
find the system consistently fails to recognize their prints. A
number of workarounds have been suggested in the thread --
re-registering your prints, washing your hands, wiping the phone
(virtually), wiping the phone (literally), etc. -- but few are
reporting a permanent fix. Many have taken their iPhones to the
Apple Genius Bar for replacements, but unfortunately, those are
plagued with the same problems.
"I have the same issue and Apple has already replaced the phone
once," commenter Bob Giammarco writes. "The new phone does the same
He adds, "I'm just about ready to return the 5S."
Another user has a pretty cynical view of the whole Touch ID
system. "Frankly, I consider Apple's use of Touch ID in the 5S as
being one step above a marketing gimmick," MisterMojo writes. "I'm
amazed that it works as well as it does."
But it's not just Apple forums where iPhone 5S owners are
expressing their frustrations.
Wall Street Journal
editor Dennis K. Berman
took to Twitter
to unfavorably compare Touch ID to another one of Apple's missteps.
"After a month with iPhone 5S, I can report the fingerprint sensor
is just like Siri -- it works a very frustrating 70% of the time."
on the Apple news site TUAW corroborated those results with nearly
one-fifth of users reporting a success rate below 75%. One comment
reads, "Mine works less than 5% of the time. Extremely
disappointed. I tried adding more prints and everything. Still
disappoints. I am hoping they get it 100% right next time."
As for now, sadly, there is no perfect remedy for the situation. So
for all the happy iPhone 5S users who were blessed with working
Touch ID systems, godspeed. But for the many unlucky owners who
can't get their device to recognize their fingerprints, better get
used to entering in your passcodes like you always have.
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