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Apple opens up Touch ID API to third-party app developers

After launching the fingerprint sensor Touch ID in September last year, Apple is now finally opening it up to third party developers in iOS 8, the upcoming version of iOS operating system. The company debuted a new Touch ID API at its ongoing annual Worldwide developer conference (WWDC 2014). The company mentioned that this API will allow third party app developers to make use of Touch ID mechanism to authenticate users or add an additional security layer to protect user logins and user data. It will also enable users to unlock items from Keychain (Apple's password management system). Anticipating privacy concerns, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi noted that the fingerprint data will continue to remain stored locally inside the A7 chip of the iOS device and will never be exposed to third party developers. Apple seems to have taken a wait-and-watch approach with Touch ID. At launch, it ruled out providing fingerprint reader authentication option to third party developers and limited the sensor's capabilities to select use cases like authenticating purchases from iTunes store, App Store and iBooks Store among others. Once consumers got comfortable with this new mechanism, it is now opening up the sensor to third party developers to offer this authentication on their respective apps. During the keynote yesterday, Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed that around 83% of users on iPhone 5S are using Touch ID as against the traditional passcode approach. I have also seen and heard several instances, where iPhone 5S users prefer the fingerprint authentication over the password authentication to purchase…

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