eXtensions - Tuesday 29 November 2016

System Preferences in macOS, Sierra: Touch ID

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By Graham K. Rogers

Some of the panels in System Preferences remained unchanged in the update to macOS, Sierra, but with the introduction of the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, a new panel was added to control the use of fingerprint technology

With the arrival of the 2016 MacBook Pro, Apple included the fingerprint technology that had been used with iOS devices to allow the unlocking of an account. Up to five fingerprints may be used, with a maximum of three for any one account. In practice, with the position of the small Touch ID panel and the relative positions of fingers, three is generous.

When an account is first created, for example when the Mac is being set up initially, a user is able to set up the identification by pressing on the Touch Bar (far right) and a panel guides the user through the process. Control of options available for fingerprint use and setting up a new Fingerprint ID are shown in the Touch ID panel.

Touch ID

To the left of the panel is a large fingerprint icon similar to that used in iOS 10. At the top of the main section to the right of this, is an explanation of Touch ID. Below are two circular icons, marked Finger 1 and Add a Fingerprint. When moving the icon over the Finger 1 icon, a cross appears, allowing the fingerprint (and its data) to be removed. The user must enter the account password before this happens. If no Touch ID is set up when an account is first created, the panel will only display the "Add a fingerprint" icon.

If a second fingerprint is added, the account password must be added in a panel that appears before the recording process can start.

Touch ID

Touch ID Touch ID

When a second fingerprint is added, the main panel is changed to indicate this.

Touch ID

Below the fingerprint icons are three checkboxes. Allow Touch ID for:

  • Unlocking your Mac
  • Apple Pay
  • iTunes & App Store

Note that the Apple Pay checkbox is live even in those areas where Apple Pay is not yet available.

See Also:

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)



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