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iPhone 5S fingerprint sensor is ill-disposed to sweat

While Apple's Touch ID scanner may be a superior way to deter would-be thieves and hackers, it could also be problematic for people with sweaty fingers.

iPhone 5S' fingerprint reader, dubbed "Touch ID." Apple

The fingerprint scanner on Apple's new iPhone 5S is being heralded as the most innovative feature on the latest model of the company's smartphone. However, Apple has admitted that its "Touch ID" sensor isn't exactly perfect -- namely, it doesn't like sweaty fingers.

Company testers have discovered that the Touch ID sensor will not always respond to fingertips coated in sweat, lotion, or other liquids, an Apple spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal.

Besides fluids, the scanner also doesn't seem to like fingertips with scars. However, the company spokesperson told the Journal that this issue is easily solvable by using another finger on the scanner.

Apple's Touch ID sensor technology is something completely new for smartphone users. The scanner is capacitive, thin, and can scan in 360 degrees. This means the sensor doesn't have to be oriented in a certain manner in relation to a user's finger. It also can learn multiple fingers, so it's not limited to just a thumbprint. The technology is said to be superior to laptop fingerprint sensors that make users repeatedly swipe the scanner.

In adding a fingerprint sensor to the iPhone, Apple has begun to rethink device security and online identity. The scanner will presumably act as a first line of defense against would-be thieves and hackers.

Users' fingerprint data will be encrypted and stored on the device's processor -- it will not be backed up to iCloud. According to the Journal, this type of storage means that it should be near impossible for a thief to reverse-engineer someone's fingerprint.

CNET contacted Apple for comment. We'll update this story when we get more information.

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