Skip to main content

Apple finally granted 2007 patent on Touch ID sensor in Macs (with hilariously old image)


While Apple may have waited for the iPhone 5s before it introduced Touch ID, it’s been working on the technology since shortly after the launch of the original iPhone. A patent first filed in 2007 was finally granted today, and includes the use of a fingerprint sensor in laptops – though the drawing Apple used to illustrate the concept seemingly dates back even further than 2007!

A finger sensing apparatus may include a finger sensor including an integrated circuit (IC) substrate, an array of finger sensing elements on the IC substrate, and match circuitry on the IC substrate for performing final finger matching. […] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an electronic device in the form of a laptop computer including a finger sensor and enhanced security in accordance with the present invention.

The patent also covers use in desktop computers, aka the iMac today, embedding the sensor into the keyboard … 

The computer 10 is illustratively shown to be a laptop computer, but the present invention is applicable to other computers (e.g. desktop computers) as well.

It would of course be no surprise for Apple to add a Touch ID sensor to future MacBooks and keyboards after making the security system standard in iPhones and iPads. We haven’t yet seen any sign of this, however, with Apple having passed up an opportunity to add Touch ID to the new Magic Keyboard.

Via Patently Apple

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel


  1. 89p13 - 7 years ago

    But . . . . Wait . . . . Samesung had this 2 years before Apple – they just forgot to apply for the Patent.;)

    • Samesung. I take it the 13 in your name is how old you are?

      • Victor (@torrent82) - 7 years ago

        I think they meant Samesung as in Samsung does the same things as Apple…a jab at them copying off Apple…

      • 89p13 - 7 years ago

        Old enough to ignore you!

      • Obviously not – because you replied.

        Take a look at the Pebble Time. Then take a look at Apple Time Travel on the Apple Watch. It is a BLATANT copy of the functionality of the Pebble Time. I know, I have both.

        My point is this – everybody copies off everyone else. You know it, I know it, Tim Cook knows it, “Samesung” knows it. But it isn’t me who is in denial. It’s obviously you.

        Much love.

  2. This doesn’t have anything to do with TouchID that I can tell. That was part of an acquisition of Authentec in 2012.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 7 years ago

      The patent was for fingerprint access to laptops and desktops – clearly when Apple implements that, it will use Touch ID technology to do so.

      • But the patents don’t cover the technology in Touch ID, which was independently created by Authentec prior to Apple’s acquisition. Apple files hundreds of patents every year, it doesn’t mean they will ever implement the details of any particular patent nor does it mean that there isn’t another (or multiple) similar patents files or acquired.

        I’m just saying this is a non-story and not related to Touch ID as the headline implies. It’s click-bait.

      • Ben Lovejoy - 7 years ago

        I regularly apply that rider when discussing Apple patents, but in this case it’s a lock in my view. I would be absolutely astonished if Apple didn’t bring Touch ID to Macs.

      • Look at the block diagram and functional description for the patent. It does not describe TouchID which works differently. Should Apple incorporate a biometric sensor into any desktop, it most assuredly will be TouchID as you’d mentioned, but it will not be what’s described in this patent, which is ridiculously old and significant;y outmoded by TouchID.

  3. PhilBoogie - 7 years ago

    Not all old images are hilarious¡ Here’s a clamshell phone from Apple:

    • PhilBoogie - 7 years ago

      Unable to make the pic smaller…this WordPress software is getting to me…

      • kijijigod - 7 years ago

        +1 on that PhilBoogie…. This web design is a super-fad and I will be glad when the 9to5 web designers grow weary of it.

  4. Soluble Apps - 7 years ago

    If only patents required the company to show a working prototype, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in now.


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

Ben Lovejoy's favorite gear