Apple introduced the “Touch ID” feature with the launch of the iPhone 5s which enabled users to secure their iPhone and unlock it using fingerprint recognition as well as to authorize iTunes purchases. With the recent release of iOS 8, and the new iPad Air 2, Apple has made the Touch ID SDK available to developers which enables us to build custom iPhone and iPad apps that can use fingerprint recognition as functionality within the apps themselves.
This new capability can be used to secure access to apps, as well as to secure the content and data within an app. For example, we’ve had clients in the healthcare industry with the need to protect patient data in order to comply with HIPAA regulations. In the past, we would have implemented a password or a PIN lock where the user would need to first enter their password/PIN to get into the app, or to access restricted/sensitive data stored within the app. This is an inconvenience for the end user as well as for corporate IT staff who would need to field support calls from users when they inevitably forgot their passwords/PINs.
With fingerprint access, users can now quickly and easily access restricted apps and content with the touch of a finger. Look for a wide range of enterprise and consumer iOS apps to be introduced in the coming year which will take advantage of this new capability.