Apple has today announced the debut of an API for Touch ID in iOS 8 SDK, giving third-party app developers access to its fingerprint sensor. As a result, other apps will also be able to use the fingerprint scanner on your iPhone for authentication. However, Apple has made it clear that users’ actual fingerprint data is still stored securely on the hardware, and is never actually exposed to developers.
“iOS 8 also includes Touch ID APIs enabling developers to securely authenticate users within apps, protect logins and user data, and unlock keychain items. With iOS 8, developers can provide authentication with a successful fingerprint match while keeping your fingerprint data safe and protected in the secure enclave.”
During the WWDC iOS 8 demonstration earlier today, Apple flashed the personal finance management app ‘Mint’ on the big screen using the Touch ID feature. This should definitely relieve some of the pain associated with keeping all your various accounts secure, which ideally should all have unique passwords with a mixture of letters, numbers and special characters. Furthermore, this would make accessing apps like 1Password easier and even more secure.
Right now, Touch ID is only available on the iPhone 5s, but Apple is expected to expand the capability to all iOS devices later the year.