This was surprising to see this morning!
According to Darrell Etherington from TechCrunch a cat’s paw can actually be used to unlock an iPhone 5s. This is because a cat’s paw has unique “fingerprints” just like humans do.
Just what gave Etherington the idea to test a cat’s paw?
Well he was running a slew of battery tests when his cat walked by and gave him the bright idea to try it out. This is what he had to say:
The cat’s paw worked, and while it encountered more frequent failures than did a fingerprint, it was able to unlock the phone again repeatedly when positioned correctly on the sensor. Note that no other paw pads would unlock the device, and that cats essentially have unique “fingerprints” just like people, so this doesn’t make the Touch ID sensor any less secure.
For the curious, I also tested the 5s fingerprint sensor on the heel of my palm, as well as on the inside of my forearm up around the wrist, and found that I could register and successfully unlock with both skin regions. Again, it was trickier to get the unlock to work consistently, and trying to fool the sensor by using the same part of the body on the opposing limb never worked.
This isn’t anything malicious or an exploit for the Touch ID sensor in the iPhone 5s either, it is working fine. Once paired with a fingerprint, or a paw, only those things will unlock the device. Still… it’s pretty funny, no?