Hacking the iPhone 5s Fingerprint Scanner

home button scanner

Don’t worry, it isn’t easy to defeat the new iPhone Fingerprint Scanner that Apple introduced with the 5s.  Since it only takes about an hour to hack a 4-digit passcode on an iPhone, why bother messing with the hours and detailed work you’d need to hack the Fingerprint Scanner. On second thought, since half of all iPhone users don’t even bother putting a passcode onto their phones just go ahead and steal two phones.  One of them will just work out of the box…

However, if you really do want to try to hack the Fingerprint Scanner, check out the original posting on the Chaos Computer Club website.  Assuming this trick is legitimate, here’s what you’d have to do to pull it off:

  • A perfect print (on a reasonably flat and clean surface) from the correct finger needed to unlock the device.
  • Superglue (which must be fumed to allow adherence to the print itself).
  • A high-quality digital camera capable of capturing photos with 2400 dpi resolution.
  • An image editing program to “clean up” the print and make it useable (and the knowhow to pull this off).
  • A sheet of printable clear plastic.
  • A printer that can both print in 1200 dpi and has a special “thick toner” setting.
  • Liquid latex (or wood glue) along with a few drops of glycerine to smear over the printed image. You then have to breathe on the fake print to give it just enough moisture to be read.
  • Oh, and you also need the phone itself, which you’ll need to obtain without the target knowing (or they can remotely wipe the phone in an instant).

If you’re missing just one of these things, you’re out of luck. On top of that, the iPhone 5s automatically asks for your passcode after five failed finger unlock attempts, and you can’t proceed without it at that point.


Cut Back on iOS 7’s Thirst For Battery


If you’re upgrading your current device to iOS 7, you will see a noticeable decrease in battery life.

If you’re looking to avoid dead batteries, here are a few settings you can tweak to keep iOS 7 from sucking your iPhone’s life.

iOS 7 lets certain apps refresh even when you’re not using them, which is both super convenient and a big problem for users who want the most out of their batteries.

For some apps, like Maps, this makes a lot of sense, but if you’ve authorized other apps (Twitter, Facebook) to track your location without actually using the in-app features that go along with it, you should turn it off. If you don’t use the apps to begin with, turning off the GPS tracking won’t do much, but if you can disable tracking for a few of your most-used apps, you could see a decent boost in battery life.

iOS 7 introduces AirDrop to the iPhone for the first time, but even if you find yourself using the handy Dropbox-style feature from time to time, you should be turning it off when you don’t need it. From here, it’s just two taps to either enable or disable AirDrop, and while you’re here, you can also disable Bluetooth and/or WiFi to help save additional battery life when you’re not using them.


Another Apple Maps Failure

English: Diagram of (FAI) in Fairbanks, Alaska...

Fairbanks International Airport told a local newspaper that in the past three weeks two motorists had driven along the taxiway and across one of its runwaysApple‘s app had directed users along the taxiway but did not specifically tell them to drive onto the runway.

The airport said it had first complained to the phone-maker three weeks ago via the local attorney general’s office. “We asked them to disable the map for Fairbanks until they could correct it, thinking it would be better to have nothing show up than to take the chance that one more person would do this,” Melissa Osborn, chief of operations at the airport, told the Alaska Dispatch newspaper.

She added that barricades had since been erected to block access to the final stretch of the taxiway and that they would not be removed until Apple had updated its directions.  The BBC still experienced the issue when it tested the app early on Wednesday, asking for directions to the site from a property to the east of the airport.


Apple Release New iMac With No Fanfare


New iMacs are available today via Apple’s online store.  These are the fastest iMacs ever, and use Intel’s latest 4th generate quad-core processors, the fastest WiFi ever as well as high-speed PCIe flash storage.  I want one :-)

  • Processor: quad-core Intel Core i5 processors up to 3.4 GHz, optional quad-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 3.5 GHz
  • Display: 21.5-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology; 1,920 x 1,080 resolution or 27-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology; 2,560 x 1,440 resolution
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Pro on base 21.5-inch model, NVIDIA GeForce GT 700 series graphics with up to 4GB of video memory
  • Memory: 8GB (two 4GB) of 1600MHz DDR3 memory, configurable up to 32 GB
  • Storage: 1TB (5,400-rpm) hard drive. Configurable to 3TB hard drive, 1TB or 3TB Fusion Drive; or 256GB, 512GB or 1TB of flash storage. Flash storage is PCIe.
  • Wireless: 802.11ac WiFi wireless networking that is IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n backwards-compatible; Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology


iOS 7’s iTunes Radio a Huge Challenge for Pandora

English: The icon used on iTunes for the app

Pandora named former Microsoft executive Brian McAndrews as their new CEO today, just as Apple is launched their competing iTunes Radio service today. And since iTunes Radio will be built into iTunes, the service will be in the hands of practically every one of those users come September 18th.

Pandora has been gathering info since 2000 on the listening habits and preferences of its users, and relies on the Music Genome Project to help custom tailor its recommendations.   Apple however has the purchase history of every iTunes user at its disposal, not to mention a few years of data now from its “Genius” playlist feature that’s been quietly monitoring playback habits.

If you do want to remove ads, however, a year of Pandora One will cost you $36. iTunes Radio seems to have a similar set up, with free ad-supported streaming and no listening cap.   However, a year of ad-less iTunes Radio will be only $24.99 (no doubt priced directly to undercut Pandora), and will include a year of iTunes Match service which backs-up a user’s iTunes library to the cloud and allows streaming access (even for songs you didn’t purchase from iTunes).

You can be sure that Pandora won’t sit idly by as iTunes Radio begins to gain popularity, and a new challenger will hopefully drive innovation among these services.   All the advantages above also won’t mean anything if the taste-matching ability of iTunes Radio isn’t up to par, although based on this early review from Fast Times, it seems Pandora has legitimate reason for concern.