The iPhone 5s and Touch ID

10/08/2013

I got a new iPhone 5s yesterday, and, while it’s not that different from the iPhone 5, there are two key differences for me. The first is that I got a 64 GB model (I know, I could have gotten a 64 GB iPhone 5, but I didn’t want to spend that much last year). I no longer use an iPod of any kind, except when I’m at home and want to listen to music on headphones when I’m not in front of a stereo.

Previously, I used iTunes’ downsampling feature to cram more music onto my device. Now, copying files in their original bit rates, I’ve been able to add a whole lot more music than I had before. My iPhone 32 GB had about 4 GB of free space before I upgraded; the iPhone 64 GB, without downsampling, showed 19 GB free space after restoring from my old iPhone’s backup. So I added, among other things, all of the Grateful Dead’s Complete Europe ’72 box set.

photo.PNGThe other big difference is Touch ID. This lets you save a fingerprint and unlock the iPhone without having to enter your PIN, and also lets you use your fingerprint as your password when purchasing from the iTunes Store. This is a nifty feature, though it took me a few minutes to grok exactly how to use it. I was pressing and holding the home button too long, and Siri was popping up. What you need to do is press the button, release it, but keep your finger on the button for a half-second so the iPhone can read the fingerprint. This works so well that I never want a mobile device without it.

Here’s a tip for managing Touch ID. You may want to try different fingers, and eventually delete some of them. If you go to Settings > General > Passcode & Fingerprint > Fingerprints, you’ll see a list, saying Finger 1, Finger 2, and so on. Just place a finger on the home button, and that finger will become highlighted (slightly darker) in the list, as you can see in the screenshot to the left.

You can also name fingerprints. From the Fingerprints pane, tap on Edit, then tap on one of the fingerprint names. A keyboard will pop up allowing you to name your fingerprint.

Touch ID has something of the future in it. I suspect we’ll be seeing this technology in other devices in the future. I certainly hope the next iPad has it (and I also hope that the next iPad mini will have a retina display).

I haven’t mentioned the improved camera, because I don’t take a lot of pictures. But I’ll be playing with it in the near future, to see what it can do.

h/t Dan Frakes, who pointed out that you can name fingerprints.