PC makers may beat Apple to the punch with new ‘fingerprint ID’ sensors built into notebook touchpads

“While Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensors remain limited to the latest iPhone and iPad models and have yet to appear in any Mac hardware, Synaptics announced on Wednesday that its new SecurePad fingerprint scanning hardware is now available to notebook PC makers,” Neil Hughes reports for AppleInsider.

“Calling it the ‘first solution to integrate fingerprint ID technology into the TouchPad,’ the Synaptics SecurePad is a 4-by-10-millimeter sensor on the surface of a notebook’s cursor controls,” Hughes reports. “The SecurePad activates with the touch of a finger, and like Apple’s Touch ID, it supports fingerprint detection at any angle.”

“SecurePad hardware is now available for PC makers to implement in their notebooks, and can be utilized in various TouchPad, ClickPad and ForcePad sizes. Manufacturers can also utilize optional LEDs for visual feedback,” Hughes reports. “Interest in fingerprint scanners has seen renewed interest thanks to Apple’s Touch ID, which debuted last year in the iPhone 5s, and allows users to quickly and securely have their fingerprint scanned from any angle. This year, Apple also introduced Touch ID in the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, as well as the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “jpbeads13” for the heads up.]


    1. Not only that, but you really don’t carry a laptop around with you for super-quick access like a mobile phone or even a tablet. TouchID is great for accessing your iPhone/iPad quickly, use Pay, etc., but I don’t see why I would need it on a MacBook Air.

      1. Theoretically, you might want it on MBA, too. However, for it to be truly secure thing, the notebook has to have special chip where your fingerprint data will be stored separately from anything else.

        This SecurePad thing from the article does not have that, so it is not really secure to use it. Also, their description tells that the sensor would recognize your fingerprint from any angle, but is silent about whether you have to move your finger through the sensor or just touch it.

        This probably means there is nothing to brag about in this field and it is basically the same damn thing as all of PC/Android fingerprint sensors before now — the only advancement is that you can move your finger at any direction, and not strictly in one direction.

        This is SecurePad solution is neither really secure nor very convenient to use.

    2. I’ll never get these articles. Why the hell would anyone give a damn about Apple being “beaten” by something like this. Is some company going to get a grand prize for being the first to have a bio-sensor reader on a PC? They’ve been selling those USB fingerprint reader dongles for years and they’ve never really caught on because they begin misreading after a relatively short time as they wear out.

      Why do they always drag Apple’s name into this nonsense to make like Apple is falling behind or something? When Apple introduced Touch ID to the iPhone, the mobile industry acted like it was some sick joke and another one of Apple’s ridiculous marketing gimmicks to charge more for their products. Now they’re acting like the entire PC industry is going to have faux-Touch ID readers built into all their computers and put Apple to shame.

      Sure, I’d love to have Touch ID on my iMac or MacBook Pro instead of screwing around with passwords but I guess I’ll simply have to wait until Apple gets around to doing that, if ever.

      1. You should see this type of attitude (we’re first so you lose) with Android vs iOS too. Their whole reason for disliking a device they’ve never used is because they could do something on their device first, regardless of the importance of this ‘something’. Some big contest in their minds. Sigh.

    3. What are you, a professional Apple apologist? If Apple could provide user benefits to iPhones, then why can’t they also add their exact same technology to Macs? Nobody is saying PCs are better than Macs overall, the point is that Mac laptops really don’t offer any significant hardware features that PC laptops don’t — quite the opposite, in fact. The security of biometrics to replace manual password entry is a Mac feature that is YEARS overdue. How do I know? Because some PCs already offer it, and it works.

    1. That, or an Apple fingerprint sensor on my corporate workstation keyboard would have been a god send if it could have eliminated 30+ elaborate passwords on my various servers, applications, and accounts when I was a systems admin. Those passwords expired every 90 days and had to be updated with new passwords, rules for the generation of which required a whole printed page of restrictions and requirements. Of course, this elaborate security system was counterproductive, because it encouraged people to simply keep a printed list of current passwords at their desks for backup.

  1. Doesn’t Apple’s TouchID use some fingerprint scanning technology that’s far superior to anything else? And that’s why it works accurately while the others don’t?

    Is this Synaptics thing anything like that?

  2. Sure they might beat Apple, but their solutions will be lousy. Apple will come in with a solution that is a million times better, and they will have the advantage of having designed both the hardware and the software. The customers won’t have to worry about getting bounced around to get tech support.

    1. FIRST! Take that Apple. Wall Street will get a good laugh out of Windows computers “kicking Apple’s ass” with a “Finger ID” sensor on every Windows computer device. Downgrades for Apple all-around for being left behind. It’s not a matter of whether it works well or not, it’s only the matter of Apple NOT having it first.


  3. I still have my UPEK Eikon USB fingerprint readers that were obsoleted on my Mac when Mavericks came out. AuthenTec merged with UPEK and when Apple bought it, shut it down.

    Tim, put a fingerprint reader on the Bluetooth Trackpad or the keyboard.

  4. the Synaptics SecurePad is a 4-by-10-millimeter sensor on the surface of a notebook’s cursor controls

    4×10 mm is teeny. That’s approximately 1/4″ x 1/2″ (for we poor dummies stuck using the old imperial system in the USA). That has to be something akin to ye olde drag-your-finger scanners formerly on many IBM Thinkpads. I ripped on the nightmare of finger dragging earlier today in another post. Not a good thing.

    1. But does it leave skid marks?

      4mm is about, 3/16th of an inch. 10mm is about 13/32 of an inch. This finger print reader is small. It is smaller than current PC readers. So a finger drag sounds right. I think having it on the track pad will be bothersome. Can you imagine it would fire off when you track over that space? I mean if you didn’t want to have your fingerprint detected, you wouldn’t be able to avoid it.

  5. Why is this so hard to understand… Apple explains it all quite clearly in their iOS Security document

    Put simply Macs will get TouchID when Intel adds a Secure Enclave to their CPUs.

    Anything else is too hackable and could be used to steal your fingerprint remotely.

    If virus prone PCs want to have this technology without this security in place, well… I pity their owners.

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