Apple patent filing reveals fingerprint scanner with advanced NFC application built into the Home Button

“When Apple revealed the iPhone 5 last year, many were confused as to why Apple didn’t include NFC technology,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“Apple’s VP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller stated at the time that it wasn’t clear that NFC was the solution to any current problem,” Purcher reports. “That was a nice misdirection Phil, really. Because as Phil was saying that, Apple had already filed for a wild fingerprint sensor/NFC patent that he was fully aware of.”

Patently Apple recently discovered this patent application in Europe that details an incredible fingerprint scanner with advanced integrated NFC circuitry that will deliver features that no one saw coming!” Purcher reports. “It appears that Apple is about to show the world a little more true innovation Apple-style next week when they introduce the iPhone 5S with a newly designed Home Button with an integrated fingerprint scanner and much more.”

Apple's next patent FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional side view of the new Home button.
Apple’s next patent FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional side view of the new Home button.

Much more in the full article – highly recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ve seen that ring in leaked photos out of China that claim to be of iPhone 5S’ packaging showing a new Home Button:

iPhone 5S packaging featuring new Home Button design
iPhone 5S packaging featuring new Home Button design

This patent application is well-worth reading – it may well give many clues as to what’s to come next week and/or in the future.

Related articles:
Leaked iPhone 5S home button images strongly suggest fingerprint scanner – September 5, 2013
Photos claim to show iPhone 5S packaging featuring Home Button fingerprint sensor – September 6, 2013
Apple ‘iPhone 5S’ to feature sapphire crystal capacitive touch Home button with fingerprint sensor, says source – May 14, 2013
Analyst: Apple’s next-gen iPhone’s Home button fingerprint sensor would be difficult for rivals to copy – January 16, 2013


    1. Just because Apple files a patent does not guarantee that this feature will be available on the next iPhone. Apple likely files at least hundreds of patents per year and how many are evident in current products?

  1. Every once in a while there’s a wow moment about a new Apple feature and this one of them. We’ve been hearing rumors and photos of parts, but reading about the technology from this patent is the TKO prior to the event. I can’t wait for Apple to unveil this scanner and maybe their wallet program. Ya!

    1. The ring glows green with nominal operation however if a intruder tries to gain access the ring turns red and segments into four equal sections giving you 4 chances to scan your finger print correctly and on the fourth scan if negative the red ring kills the iPhone. They call it the red ring of Steve Ballmer

      1. Actually, I was just imagining Apple will backlight the ring when you touch it and it will turn green with a confirmation tone when recognition is confirmed. That would be ultra-cool.

      1. But the patent application is filed. Therefore, if it is patentable, Apple will own the patent. That is far better than the alternative, and it puts Apple’s competitors on the defensive. They will have to attempt to discredit the patent, should it be awarded.

  2. What part of “….current problem”, does Purcher not understand. Where “CURRENT” was a year ago. This is for the future or maybe even “now”. Things have progressed since over a year ago I think.

    If Apple makes this NSA proof, it will be the one feature people will flock to buy.

    1. Hey Paul,

      You’re reading it too literally. The point was that Phil, as a good marketing man, carefully crafted his statement. I was applauding him, not criticizing him. He was being crafty. That’s a part of what marketing people do. Misdirect your completion into thinking that you have no interest in something and then come out with a better toy in time. Steve Jobs did that for the iPhone and laughed at cloud computing even though iCloud was in the works. Anyways your read it wrong.


      1. Hey Jack,

        I may have been too harsh. It’s not that I didn’t see your compliment to Phil. I understand you were saying good things about a marketing guy being kind of sly etc.

        But you see, Phil “actually” was not being sly at all. He was actually saying it as it “actually” was. All he said was that NFC had no solution to anything at that ‘present’ time. It just niggles me a bit when it can be construed as a Jobsian slight of hand when it “actually” was not.

        Now Steve would have said something like….”We just don’t see NFC as a technology in its ascendancy. We think we can do a lot more with BT4.0″. Then a year later he would have introduced the iPhone with NFC.

  3. This will be the Holy Grail for NSA. Now they can, not only access to comunication data, but also to biometric data in a worldwide scale lol. Only face recognition is missing, but that can even be done in stealth mode.

    1. Theoretically, it could be engineered to isolate the results of fingerprint scans to protected memory, and ensure these results cannot be read directly by other applications or uploaded to a network. If it’s locked down in this way, a fingerprint scanner can be very valuable for personal security systems, and help protect people from the NSA and other data spies.

  4. Maybe this will use Liquid Metal. The 5,000 electrodes will be hard to pack in a home button. Use of LM would make it hard for others (Samsung) to copy; it will take more than a software workaround. Also, it will make the Android “we did it first” fans STFU.

    For high security business and government needs iPhone will be the top choice. This will be the death blow to BB. WinPhone’s best chance was the business market. The MS buy of Nokia will go down as the best (Nokia)/worst(MS) business deals of the decade. I believe (could be wrong) Apple is working on large data centers outside the US. This would keep the NSA from reading non US messages, taking away a big BB and Nokia advantage. This time “S” will be for Secure.

  5. Looks like Apple is learning how to write patent applications. With all the variables they’re including, it will be harder for copiers to make minor changes and claim that they are no longer infringing on Apple’s patent.

  6. I like it! 😀

    I have to assume that in order for the NFC (Near Field Communication) chip to give up its code, the user must use their fingerprint in order to approve the data transfer.

    IOW: No random stranger bumping into your NFC device and ripping off your identity. No nasty marketing morons zapping your chip to ID you and inflict personalized advertising at you. This sort of scenario has been the bane of NFC so far. It looks like Apple has killed off the problem with one lovely solution: Total user control.

    You can read about this technology here:


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