I often forget my 3-year-old iPad came out before Apple embraced the fingerprint sensor. But it’s a testament to how conditioned I am to unlocking my iPhone 6 with my finger that I expect the same convenience from my tablet. It’s only after a moment that I — slightly embarrassed and annoyed — tap in my passcode.
I doubt I’m alone. Thanks to newer smartphones and tablets from Apple and Samsung, fingerprint sensors have gone mainstream. And in May, Google said it will also support sensors in its Android mobile operating system. It’s easy to see why. These sensors are more convenient than a numeric passcode. They’re also a lot more secure.
A fingerprint is difficult (but not impossible) to steal. And because verification happens right on the tablet or smartphone, your fingerprint information doesn’t travel online, where it could get nicked. Passwords, on the other hand, are the weakest link in almost any security system. Their vulnerability lies, in part, on password overload — a symptom of our logging in to dozens of websites, each requiring a user ID and password.