As you can see in the video above, Apple’s new fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5s isn’t restricted to human users. After commandeering a cat, I tested a colleague’s hypothesis that you could register the identifying skin segments of your favorite furry friends for Touch ID, too.
The cat’s paw worked, and while it encountered more frequent failures than did a fingerprint, it was able to unlock the phone again repeatedly when positioned correctly on the sensor. Note that no other paw pads would unlock the device, and that cats essentially have unique “fingerprints” just like people, so this doesn’t make the Touch ID sensor any less secure.
For the curious, I also tested the 5s fingerprint sensor on the heel of my palm, as well as on the inside of my forearm up around the wrist, and found that I could register and successfully unlock with both skin regions. Again, it was trickier to get the unlock to work consistently, and trying to fool the sensor by using the same part of the body on the opposing limb never worked.
To clarify, this isn’t a ‘hack’ of Apple Touch ID tech, like the kind a group of individuals is trying to crowdfund via the istouchidhackedyet.com covered earlier this morning by ZDNet. But it is a broadening of the definition of what counts as a “fingerprint” by the iPhone 5s scanner’s standards, so if you think your pet needs access to your accounts, feel free to register them as one of your five stored Touch ID profiles.
TechCrunch’s Natasha Lomas contributed to this article.