One of the loudest outbursts of applause this week at WWDC was for Apple’s announcement of letting app developers take advantage of Touch ID, which means apps will now be able to use the iPhone 5S (and certainly iPhone 6) fingerprint scanner in apps. Read more about Touch ID from CNET’s Brooke Crothers.
It immediately got me to thinking about what apps could benefit from using Touch ID. Though most everyone has it ingrained in their minds that logins and passwords are only the way to secure things on the Web and in apps, Touch ID could potentially replace them. And while it might be hard to win people over to a new way of thinking about security, I think it could work.
I’ll start with the low-hanging fruit: Bank apps. Whether you use the official apps for Bank of America,Wells Fargo, or an all-in-one finance tracking app like Mint, a fingerprint scanner would be a great way to make sure you’re the only one with access.
Don’t forget that with Touch ID, you will no longer have the hassle of logging into your account; you simply touch and go.
Cloud Drive services
As more and more of our photos and documents move into the cloud, having good security is becoming crucial, especially if you’re saving documents or spreadsheets for work.
With Touch ID, you’ll know that you’re the only one who can gain access to your important documents and data.
If you use cloud-based note takers like Evernote, Notability, or several others, keeping your thoughts and task lists locked away is probably a good idea. I’d also include personal journal apps in this category, even though they often come with secure login features of their own.
This way, you won’t have to worry about someone picking up your iOS device and getting access to your personal notes. It also occurs to me that you could require a Touch ID scan for the desktop version of an app like Evernote, with an automatic text notification to your phone that requires a fingerprint scan to continue using the desktop app.
Photos and third-party photo lockers
There are some photos you simply don’t want others to see, risque or otherwise. Even if my photos are 100 percent safe, I still feel weird when another person is swiping through my collection uninvited.
There are also a number of third-party secure photo apps that have various security strategies including pin number access and even fake icons to throw people off the trail. With Touch ID, you can lose the login process and just touch your finger to gain access.
Touch ID could also be used to keep people from hacking your social network accounts. Twitter,Facebook, and several other services already offer two-factor authentication that sends a text to your iPhone, then has you enter a code or confirm that you’re using the desktop app.
If these social networks let you use Touch ID as part of the process, it would remove the hassle of entering in special codes and would be the ultimate preventative strategy for keeping your social network logins locked down.
With this application of Touch ID it’s more about identifying separate people than it is about security. In this case you might have a family iPad with multiple people that love the same game. To keep your accounts and game progress separate, you could require a Touch ID at the beginning to unlock your save games.
Touch ID will make sure your little brother doesn’t ruin your win/loss record in Hearthstone or beat that level you’ve been trying to pass in League of Evil.
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