Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Android P adds new Biometrics API that supports iris, face, and fingerprint scanning

Security is arguably the most important part of a mobile phone. In Android P Developer Preview 1, Google announced the new Fingerprint Dialog API. This is now being replaced with the BiometricPrompt API. Android P will be working to support more forms of security in the new BiometricPrompt API.  This API is more general and allows for developers to support all forms of biometric unlock methods. Whether a device has an iris scanner, fingerprint scanner, facial recognition, or even in-display scanners.

We first reported on this new API back in February while reading through the AOSP Gerrit. While looking, we found native support in Android P for Iris scanning. In March, we found more additions to the Gerrit hinting at native support for facial recognition hardware. This seems to be what has come from these additions. In addition to adding this, Google has also deprecated the old USE_FINGERPRINT permission and replaced it with USE_BIOMETRIC.

Google has announced this API for app developers to use all forms of biometrics to verify a user identity in an app. As an example, the Samsung Galaxy S9 has iris scanning, facial recognition, intelligent scan, and a fingerprint scanner. This would allow for apps to request a biometric verification from the user and use more than just the fingerprint to accept it.

PayPal supports using your fingerprint to sign into the app without having to type in your password. Iris scanning is more secure than a fingerprint, so users might want to use that instead. This new Biometrics API will allow for developers to add support for biometric unlocks like iris scanning or facial recognition without using third-party APIs provided by companies like Samsung.

Hopefully, developers will start to use this new Biometrics API for their apps. It will make apps more secure along with supporting more forms of biometrics as companies start to develop and add more ways to unlock devices.

Source: Google Developer Blog

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