Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Is Touch ID too good?

Dr. Drang blogs on Boxing Day so the rest of us don’t have to:

Have you ever pulled your phone out of your pocket or purse with the intent of using that little camera icon on the lockscreen to go straight to the Camera app? And have you been thwarted by Touch ID responding so quickly that you had to launch the app the slow way by navigating to the home screen and tapping the Camera icon? I sure have, and I’ll bet you have, too. It doesn’t really take much longer to launch the app that way, but it feels much longer because you know there’s a shorter way, and you’ve been prevented from using it.

Drang’s commenting on a piece by Craig Mod that (among other things) criticizes Touch ID for being too good, in the sense that it prevents you from interacting with the iPhone’s lock screen.

I do think there’s a real problem here, and Drang notes it as well. I used to flip up the Camera icon on my lock screen all the time, but these days I find myself flipping up Control Center and tapping the Camera icon instead, because Touch ID has automatically unlocked my phone.

But as Drang rightly notes, Touch ID saves more time than it might cost:

But would you really want to go back to the slower Touch ID? How often, when you unlock your phone, do you want to use one of the lockscreen affordances? And how does the time you lose in those cases compare to the time you gain in all those cases when you don’t want to use the lockscreen? Since I’m in a betting mood, I’ll bet the time you’ve saved overwhelms the time you’ve lost. And I’ll bet Apple studied iPhone usage enough to know that would be the case long before the improved Touch ID was released.

I agree—if Apple created a setting that slowed down Touch ID on my iPhone 6s I wouldn’t consider turning it on. Better that I change my behavior to touch the sleep/wake button when I want to use the camera or see notifications, or that I just unlock the phone and launch the Camera app from Control Center.

—Linked by Jason Snell

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