TouchID Stories February 25, 2014

Jealous of S5 heart rate monitor? Your iPhone can already measure your heart rate with these apps

When Samsung unveiled its new flagship Galaxy S5 yesterday, the big news was the inclusion of a fingerprint scanner and heart rate sensor. The fingerprint scanning of course brings it up to par with Apple’s TouchID functionality, the standout feature and big selling point for the iPhone 5s. The heart rate sensor, however, is something not included in the current iPhone lineup and something Samsung will spend a lot of time marketing as fitness and health wearables like its new smartwatch lineup become big business in 2014. But did you know you can already measure your heart rate on iPhone using the device’s built-in camera?

A number of apps on the App Store, such the “Heart Rate Monitor” app just launched by PlusSports, allow you to accurately measure your heart rate by simply placing your face or fingertip in front of the camera lens. Another app available on the App Store that we’ve tested and works well is Instant Heart Rate. Popular fitness app maker Runtastic also has its own heart rate monitor and pulse tracker app.

The experience of using these apps is almost identical to the S5, which also forces the user to place a finger over a sensor on the back of the device and wait several seconds for a reading.

It’s possible Samsung would tell you that its built-in heart rate sensor is more accurate or feature-filled, but from our tests and reviews from others, the iPhone apps are remarkably accurate.

TouchID Stories September 19, 2013

More than $15k in rewards offered to crack Apple’s iPhone 5s TouchID fingerprint sensor

As noted by BusinessInsider, a number of security researchers and other hackers have come together to offer rewards to the first person that can “reliably and repeatedly break into an iPhone 5s” through bypassing the new TouchID fingerprint sensor feature. They aren’t looking for a software hack, however, but instead want hackers to break into the device by lifting prints, “like from a beer mug.”

It’s not exactly a legit contest, as the creators of the site are only claiming responsibility for their own bounty offers. Their bounties come out to around just $200 of the approximately $20k in pledges listed on the site.

In order to collect, you’ll have to have video proof of the process. The site’s creator explained in the “terms and conditions,” which is actually just a series of tweets:

All I ask is a video of the process from print, lift, reproduction and successful unlock with reproduced print. I’ll put money on this… Enroll print, Place it, lift it, reproduce it, use the reproduction to unlock the phone without being locked out… satisfactory video evidence of the print enrollment, lift, reproduction and successful application of the print without locking out will do.

While there’s no way of telling if most of those offering bounties will actually payout, the largest pledge comes from IOCapital for $10K:

https://twitter.com/Arturas/status/380748248589148161

Apple said at the introduction of the iPhone 5s that “all fingerprints will be encrypted, stored securely and never uploaded to iCloud or its own servers,” but there have been a few questions surrounding how Apple’s new TouchID fingerprint sensor works.  Earlier this month Apple addressed security concerns and noted some features to prevent hacking of the fingerprint sensor:

Only that passcode (not a finger) can unlock the phone if the phone is rebooted or hasn’t been unlocked for 48 hours. This feature is meant to block hackers from stalling for time as they try to find a way to circumvent the fingerprint scanner.

You can check out all of the bounties being offered and learn more through the istouchidhackedyet.com site. 

With Australia, alongside other countries in Asia included in the initial September 20 iPhone launch, the first to get their hands on the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, a repair company in the country has just posted the first teardown of the two new iPhones. The iExperts Team out of Australia has taken apart both devices, revealing new components but not yet giving us a look at what we expect will be a Samsung made A7 chip.

The first thing noticed in the teardown was a new connector for the TouchID fingerprint sensor assembly. Lining up with leaks leading up to the launch of the iPhones, it also found a 5.92Whr battery in the 5s (up from 5.45Whr in the iPhone 5), and a 5.73Whr battery in the iPhone 5c. Internal layouts for the two new iPhones also seem to line up with part leaks we seen in recent months. Interestingly, the site notes that the batteries are stamped with “Apple Japan.”

Many of the teardown shots below also include an iPhone 5 next to the 5s and 5c for comparison.

iExperts notes that Apple has fixed an issue from previous generation devices by adding an extra coating to switches “that should help hold them together to prevent the failures prevalent in the other models.”

We don’t learn much more from the teardown, which is likely still in progress as the site analyzes new internal components, but we’ll be learning a lot more as others pry into their new iPhones in the hours ahead. The teardown also gives us a good look at Apple’s new home button/fingerprint assembly: expand full story

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