iOS 11 has a ‘cop button’ to temporarily disable Touch ID

Apple is adding an easy way to quickly disable Touch ID in iOS 11. A new setting, designed to automate emergency services calls, lets iPhone users tap the power button quickly five times to call 911. This doesn’t automatically dial the emergency services by default, but it brings up the option to and also temporarily disables Touch ID until you enter a passcode. Twitter users discovered the new option in the iOS 11 public beta, and The Verge has verified it works as intended.

Previously, if you wanted to temporarily disable Touch ID you’d need to restart an iPhone, wait for a few days when the device automatically prompts for the passcode, awkwardly use a different finger a few times to force it to lock out, or just disable Touch ID in settings. Apple’s new method is a far more discreet way of locking out a phone, especially if you’re in a situation where you’re worried someone might force you to unlock your phone.

Unlocking phones with a fingerprint sensor is a hot topic for law enforcement requests, and police in Michigan even 3D-printed a murder victim’s fingerprint to gain access to a device. With fears over access to devices at border control points around the world, this quick trick will at least prevent Touch ID from being used until a passcode is entered.

The new iOS 11 feature is even more relevant when you consider that Apple is expected to introduce face unlocking with the next iPhone. The ability to quickly disable Touch ID or face unlock features with iOS 11 could be even more useful in a scenario where you might not need to be physically forced to unlock a phone. iOS 11 is likely to roll out to existing devices next month, and the public beta is available right now for those brave enough to test it.


Pro-tip: go into Settings > Emergency SOS, and turn off the countdown sound. I’d imagine if you’re in a situation in which you need to very discreetly call 911, you don’t want your phone to sound like the starship Enterprise is about to self-destruct.

I don’t see this setting… Is this new in iOS 11?

Unless you have a toddler who likes picking up and playing with your phone… then the countdown is very useful!

"Unless you have a toddler who likes picking up and playing with your phone… then the countdown is very useful!"

Wouldn’t the countdown be very useful if you do "have a toddler who likes picking up and playing with your phone"?

Yeah, but if the cops do that the entire case gets tossed anyway. (At least it should)

There really aren’t any security measures that can help you once you a captured by someone who is willing to cause harm.

It’s still an improvement if you’re willing to endure the harm. With TouchID still enabled, the adversary could physically take your finger and unlock the phone. However with the password, if you have a lot of willpower you can choose to not reveal it and there’s no way for them to take it by force.

there’s no way for them to take it by force

hahaha yeah obtaining information by force never worked

Information yes…. But the correct one? More often No than Yes.

(That just a second googling, but there are so many reports and experiences that torture doesn’t work since centuries. But terrorism does, why western countries are so amazingly good in terrorism as you get everything you want by doing so).

And you get so easily almost anyone to join to terrorism in western countries that most government authorities are in the board to support terrorism.

So what do you think when it is put in the street level, a police having the device in front of them and all they need to do is to give some threat to the subject and they will more likely do what police say. In court it is then easy to say it was willingly done as there are no physical evidence of otherwise.

"everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth" — Mike Tyson

You can easily achieve this on Android by using app. For many years, I’ve been using Power toggles, put on quick lock button on the lock screen, which will disable fingerprint and required you to enter password.

It’s really nice to have built in, though, and I hope Google will follow suit.

In Android all you need to do is turn off your phone. A passcode is required when you turn the phone on again. A fingerprint scan won’t unlock it.

Same with the iPhone.

And has been there since start of introduction of Touch ID.

since start of introduction of Touch ID.

U pretty sure not the end of introduction?

Easier way on Android: Do not program every finger of your both hands to the device but just the few you need (like index fingers and one thumb).

If situation calls, just keep tapping the reader with a invalid finger and phone will lock itself and requires passcode to open up the phone instead finger.

It is in Android, but it doesn’t currently work (at least on my Pixel XL). You previously had to press and hold the fingerprint icon on the lock screen and it would stay locked until you put your pin code in. Now it just doesn’t do anything.

just long press the fingerprint icon on the lockscreen it does the same thing an forces password/code unlock.

Doesn’t seem to do anything anymore on my XL.

Just tried on mine too. Weird.

Wonder when it changed?

Good to know. Although I wish Android had the features people need it’s good to know the 3rd party solutions are there to pick up the slack.

The app is Power Toggles?

I use "Screen Off And Lock". It allows me to put a widget on the homescreen that locks the phone and requires a passcode to unlock again.

Yeah, something just irks me about this being handled through a third party app though.

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