Touch ID in action

One of the first things that came to my mind when Apple officially unveiled Touch ID during last week’s iPhone event was that on top of getting your iPhone 5s stolen, you’re now at risk of getting your finger chopped off so the thief can unlock the device.

Worry not, because apparently, chopping your finger off wouldn’t allow anyone to actually get into your iPhone. Here is why…

As Mashable explains:

What we now know is that the iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor uses radio frequency scanning to detect the sub-epidermal layers of your skin, a dynamic that requires the owner of the finger to be alive and attached to the finger being used.

“The [RF capacitive sensor] technology is built in a way that the [fingerprint] image has to be taken from a live finger,” says Sebastien Taveau, chief technology officer at Validity Sensors, a California based provider of fingerprint sensor solutions. “No one in biometrics wants to talk about cut fingers and dead bodies, but at the end of the day we are still asked to remove the fears of consumer and make sure that they understand that [a severed finger] will not work.”

So here you have your explanation.

Now bookmark this post and should someone want to chop off your finger to get access to your iPhone, make sure sure they read this first. Or better yet, just offer to deactivate Touch ID and password protection. I don’t know about you but after spending 33 years with my fingers, I’d have a hard time adjusting to missing one.

  • pauleebe


  • Qasim Bashir

    apple is the best

    • @dongiuj

      The Israeli company that researched and thought of it is “the best”.

      • Qasim Bashir

        idgaf about that

      • Mistrjon

        Why don’t you care about that?

    • @dongiuj

      Why is apple the best?
      And funny how my previous comment was deleted. It was non offensive in any way, shape or form to the general public.

  • Gohary

    Why would the thief chop my finger off while he could just knock me off and open it WHILE I AM STILL ALIVE!

    • Because he might think that if he chops off your finger, he will always be able to unlock your iPhone. If he knocks you down, he can only unlock it once.

      Your passcode will still be needed to turn Touch ID off (presumably).

      • Tom Brady

        Good point

      • Asiz Koju

        Dear Sebastien,
        If someone could knock me off to use my finger. Can’t anyone just beat me like hell to know my password?

      • Tom Brady

        Maybe apple should give u a bodyguard to go along with the phone

      • Apanizo2

        Introducing “SIRO” your iPhones body guard. Comes with a redesigned hurricane charger.

      • Exactly. That’s why I said in the last paragraph that it might be wiser to just give it all up to the thief

      • Alex_Atkin_UK

        Which raises the question of why even bother locking the phone at all if all you are going to do is disable it if someone tries to steal your phone?

      • Leo J. Campos

        The thing about this is that most of the thiefs would try to make a fast move like just taking it and running, killing you or chopping your finger off is fast while beating you as hell wouldn’t and you could just start running or scream

      • Nathan Lam

        What sick bastard would unlock a phone every time with a severed thumb. Haha Nasty.

      • Luis Perez

        But once you unlock the phone, don’t you can disable the Touch ID thing?

      • Chazy Ronnie

        It will require your passcode again before disabling the touch ID

      • Sam Khan

        Or if you wanna save your middle finger (just to show him later) simply turn off the passcode infront of him

      • House4life

        After all the people that r most likely gonna do anything to get access to the phone will be our friends.

  • omrishtam

    fk u haters!

  • coejam

    While you are sleeping, somebody can scan your finger and use your phone.

    • Tom Brady

      But this fingerprint sensor is to prevent theft. As Sebastien stated below, they would still need your fingerprint again. Using it while you’re sleep is for one time use

      • Kwame Owusu

        Your roommate, anybody could unlock your phone or make purchases holding your finger but i understand and think Touch ID it’s a bonus feature and can be turned off

      • Kwame Owusu

        or even worse your girlfriend using your finger to unlock your phone when you are asleep. lol

    • Riaz Toorabally

      Good point.. I didn’t think of that.. Seems that the Touch ID is going to cause more problems than it will solve..

    • DomL

      I agree.. especially if you are drugged by someone

      • Byron C Mayes

        What type of people are you hanging out with? o_O

      • DomL

        Pls don’t be mistaken and get the wrong impression of me. I’m just stating the fact.

  • Jonathan

    That’s a relief..

  • Tom Brady

    I can’t wait to get one. The fingerprint reader kinda had me leaning towards another phone. But I’ll stay loyal to apple

  • ElieCh

    If i have iOS 7 Beta 6 installed will i get the official iOS 7 update OTA ? or i should restore to iOS 6.1.4 on my iPhone 5?

    • Martin 

      No, you will not get the official iOS 7. Best way to get it is to update to iOS7 GM (iTunes) or go back to iOS6 right now 🙂 please back up your data before (if you will install GM only iCloud right now, or iTunes 11.1 beta) 🙂

      • ElieCh

        Thank u for your reply 🙂 Just one more question, if i restored to 6.1.4 can i update to ios7 ota or i should do it via itunes?

      • Martin 

        If restored to ios 6.1.4 you can easily update per OTA 🙂

  • kenzie t

    What if the thief doesnt read iDB? What if he doesnt know that cutting off the finger wont work?

    • Kartik Dhawan

      Maybe read the last 4 lines of the article XD

      • kenzie t

        LOL okayyyy….

    • Jason Masters

      We hope that at minimum these iphone thieves are reading idb and they stay in the loop

    • idownloadblogreader

      He’ll just throw the phone in agony.

  • Tom Brady

    Off topic: does apple selling a helluva lot of 5c’s mean I’m definitely going to be able to get the 5s on the 20th without waiting in a line all night

    • Zachary Sloane

      hahahahahaahhaa!!! No.

    • Rowan09


  • Martin 

    What you people are keeping in your iPhone that you have to protect it with a fingerprint?! 😉

    • Tom Brady


    • kenzie t

      i think it’s not the important stuff inside, it’s more like it is easier to unlock your phone just by holding the home button instead of typing the passcode

      • Martin 

        I know – it was only a joke 🙂

    • Jason Masters

      Naked pics of their girlfriends/wives of course lol!

      • Martin 

        Do you have some naked pictures of your girl?

      • Jason Masters

        No i only have your mothers sadly but i already posted her up

      • Martin 

        You ruined my joke 🙂 point for you 😉

    • idownloadblogreader

      Thief might purchase a whole lotta’ apps and music which will empty your credit card.

    • Rowan09

      Personal information, since people save passwords, sign on to bank accounts, credit card accounts, etc.

  • Shane Sepeda

    What is a killer going to do with an Apple ID anyway?

    • Danuel Carr

      The troll face in your avatar is startleingly accurate.

  • Lee Pattison

    “I don’t know about you but after spending 33 years with my fingers, I’d have a hard time adjusting to missing one”
    Great post

  • Ron McLaughlin

    This article and comments are the greatest! Had me Laughing through the whole thing! I’ll keep coming back, just to read more comments!

  • Fujin

    I wonder if you were to hook up a source of energy to the severed thumb would give it ‘life’. Like a potato, lemon, or 9V battery…..

  • Wamid

    They should just release a Find My Finger app.. For when it gets stolen n stuff

  • Bassel Samo

    But you can place up to five fingerprints on your iPhone 5s and I don’t think that you’re gonna chop off your five fingers at the same time by accident.

  • iOops

    I wonder how many times Apple had to cut fingers off to test the Touch ID, Presumably, you need the finger live to lock it, then cut the sucker off and see if it can be fooled. Personally, I believe this article needs more to back up the claim that it cannot be fooled – by actual trials, not theories. If people can get fingerprints off water bottles and coffee cups that can bypass some of the worlds best security, I don’t suppose it would be far fetched for somebody to come up with a method to cut a finger off, and fool the system to think it’s from a living finger.

    • Rowan09

      Yeah but this is just a phone if anyone wants to go through all this for a phone, they won’t need to cut of anyone’s finger they’ll just give it to them. Most thefts are snatch and runs usually on the train. Nevertheless with IOS 7 for now you need your Apple ID to use the phone and all companies blacklist stolen phones so that will be a deterant.

  • Rick Hart

    Yeah but it’ll work while your asleep! Divorce rate will rise thanks to apple. Wife going through phone while man is asleep and vice versa

    • cordell

      Im sure you can toggle it off & on

    • Kwame Owusu

      Apple should include something like sleeping mode where you can say touch on the touch ID twice to activate sleeping mode; woe to those who forget.

  • madmaxmedia

    But it worked in ‘The 6th Day’! (Schwarzenegger flick)

  • Abdl

    The thief that would steal the phone wont know this! Therefore iPhone 5s=High crime rate

  • Byron C Mayes

    Seriously folks, most of the iPhone thefts are either stolen from (or with) an open purse/backpack/car or they’re a “grab and run.” In the vast majority of thefts, you will probably get to keep your fingers.

    If someone is actually in your face robbing you at gun-/knifepoint, just hand over your valuables and the robber will generally want to make a quick getaway. He probably wants to sell it all for drugs anyway and won’t have time to worry about passwords and fingerprints.

  • Kamrul

    Yeah but thieves won’t know this till after they chopped your finger off.

  • gipa

    It’s not like thieves will read this article!

  • gipa

    If all of your fingers have different finger prints then I guess the thieve is going to chop 10 of your fingers until he finds the right one 😀

  • Jason Masters

    Best post ever lol!

  • James

    This was one of the first things that came to your mind?

  • Cjoy

    no ‪‎chopped‬ ‪‎fingers is good… but how about ‪forced‬ ‪access‬ ‎while‬ ‎asleep‬?‬

    • Qasim Bashir

      use a passcode if u are worried about that, hopefully i sleep in my room where no strangers are walking through

  • House4life

    Very well… They’ll cut off ur arm. muwahaha

  • Wayan Wirawan

    Dfu + restore??

    • Rowan09

      They will need you Apple ID to log in and use the phone for IOS 7.

    • Qasim Bashir

      ios 7 activation lock prevents that

  • Tim

    I think a thief would have to be pretty desperate to cut off a finger

  • Y2J

    Did anyone else lol at “requires the owner of the finger to be alive and attached to the finger being used?”

  • Kinng

    A theif can restore the phone n don’t need to worry abt the password or chopping fingers.

    • Freddie

      They’ll need your Apple ID password.

      • Kinng

        don’t need apple ID password if u restore it with pc.. i have been doing restore to my phones without password…

      • Qasim Bashir

        ios 7 doesnt allow that

      • Freddie

        I’m talking about Activation Lock on iOS 7.

  • Kwame Owusu

    I can try and hold up through torture without giving up my password but I don’t think I’ve the strength to stop someone stronger from forcibly using my finger. lol

  • Biken Dangol

    But Thieves are not that smart——If they’re smart enough then They’l do something else rather than to steal. I think within some months ,I’ll surely hear about peoples’ finger being chopped.

  • mav3rick

    Tech info good but rationale of the post has flaws: thief needs to know first what finger is used for locking and from which hand.
    Also hard to believe that this sensor was made so special for a phone and so difficult to circumvent.
    Yeah, and somebody wanting to brutally steal your phone will definitively read on Internet before.

  • J™

    if the thief knows how to hack into your phone he dont even need your finger

  • @dongiuj

    This article is talking about technology that a company in Israel researched and developed. Apple just bought the company. Nothing more and nothing less.

  • JamesOfNY

    What about people getting drugged, their phones unlocked, credit and bank information stolen, accounts emptied by the time the victim wakes up?