The new Touch ID sensor is on the keyboard on the MacBook Air.


Apple

Apple introduced its biometric Touch ID feature for the new MacBook Air on Tuesday. 

 The tech giant unveiled the latest version of the MacBook Air at its event at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The compact laptop catches up with the MacBook Pro, which got the feature in 2016.

Unlike the MacBook Pro’s Touch ID, this sensor is on the keyboard rather than on an OLED touch bar across the top row. Touch ID, Apple’s fingerprint sensor used to unlock devices, was introduced on the iPhone 5S in September 2013. The biometric security feature is a faster, more convenient alternative to passwords. Though if you’re concerned about law enforcement and court orders compelling you to unlock your devices, Touch ID might not be for you

The Touch ID on the the new MacBook Air doesn’t just unlock your laptop though. Like Touch ID for your iPhone and the MacBook Pro, you can also use the biometric feature to shop using Apple Pay as well as to authenticate third-party apps. 

Your fingerprint data is encrypted and secured on Apple’s T2 security chip, which uses Secure Enclave. That means all that data, including your passwords and your fingerprint, are stored only on that device and doesn’t leave the MacBook Air. Even Apple wouldn’t receive that data. 


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The T2 chip was first introduced in the iMac Pro this summer, and adds an extra layer of security for Apple’s devices. While security features are often embedded within the processors — as companies like Qualcomm and Intel provide in their chips — more tech giants have been relying on standalone security chips. When Google announced its Pixel 3, it noted the phone has a custom version of the Titan chip, which the company previously only used on its data centers. 

The T2 chip will also be on the Mac Mini, which Apple also announced Tuesday. Along with providing encryption for Touch ID, the chip also provides Secure Boot, which makes sure your device is not tampered with when it starts up. 

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