This one may be hard to swallow, but some iPhone 5s owners appear to be experiencing a “decay” process with their Touch ID fingerprint sensors, in that the scanner forgets to interpret prints accurately.
There are no signs of this problem being widespread, but a consulting engineer named Dr. Drang reveals on his blog that Apple’s touch ID might be faulty.
“I’ve been using Touch ID since I got an iPhone 5s in mid-October,” Drang writes.
“Generally speaking, I like it, and I find it faster than the old swipe-and-passcode method, but I’ve felt compelled to reteach it my fingerprints twice already. I know this sounds impossible, but its recognition of my prints seems to decay with time.”
Dr. Drang goes to explain that he rescanned his prints this weekend and “Touch ID has been amazingly fast and accurate since then. Just as it was when I first got the 5s, and just as it was a few weeks later when I rescanned my fingers for the first time,” he writes.
A single such case isn’t enough to raise suspicion that Apple has a problem on its hands. It may well be that this person’t iPhone is faulty, or that Dr. Drang himself might be doing something wrong.
But, as John Gruber points out on his blog, the issue seems to be affecting many others.
A respected Apple pundit with solid ties in the IT industry, Gruber says, “Drang is not alone — I’ve had a handful of readers ask me about this recently. Makes me think there’s something to it. Me, personally, though, I haven’t noticed any drop-off in accuracy.”
Some users on Apple Support Communities are reporting erratic behavior with their Touch ID sensors, and there’s one new thread where a customer also asks about the sensor potentially losing accuracy.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on that thread to see if it escalates. In the meanwhile, let us know how your experience has been.