Apple brings Touch ID to the MacBook Pro

The iPhone's handy fingerprint sensor finally comes to the Mac line.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Shara Tibken
Joshua Goldman
2 min read
Watch this: MacBook gets Touch ID fingerprint scanner

Apple on Thursday introduced a new MacBook Pro design for the first time in over four years. As rumored, the new models -- available in 13- and 15-inch sizes -- offer an all-new design, an OLED "Touch Bar" that replaces the function key row, and the Touch ID sensor borrowed from Apple's iPhone.

The Touch ID sensor is integrated into the power button. According to Apple, it allows for a quick, accurate reading of your fingerprint and uses algorithms to recognize and match it with Apple's Secure Enclave protection using a new Apple T1 chip in the laptops.

In early demos, the Mac's Touch ID seems to function identically to that of the iPhone, allowing secure Apple Pay payments online. Apple also demonstrated that the fingerprint sensor can be used to "hot swap" between multiple Mac users.

Watch this: Touch Bar comes to new MacBook Pro

To demonstrate this, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, simply placed his finger on the sensor and it recognized him and switched to his desktop from that of Craig Federighi, Apple's head of software.

Federighi started the demo by showing how the Touch ID can also be used to unlock the new MacBook Pro. Just as it works on the iPhone, you rest your finger on the Touch ID sensor and you'll be logged into the laptop instantly.

Similar features were introduced earlier this year for current Mac users via MacOS Sierra. Using its MacID option, you can use the Touch ID sensor on an iPhone or iPad or the proximity sensor in an Apple Watch to unlock your Mac, switch profiles and use Apple Pay.

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