Q: I just upgraded to a new iPhone 6 Plus from my old iPhone 5, but this new iPhone seems to always want me to enter my passcode or use Touch ID whenever I turn the screen back on — even if it’s only been off for a second. I’m used to just being able to turn my iPhone off and then back on with the top button to check something quickly without being prompted for a passcode each time. Even with Touch ID, it would still be easier to turn on the phone and just swipe right instead of playing finger gymnastics to move my finger down to the home button after turning it on, especially with the iPhone 6 Plus being so much larger. With my old iPhone, I could set a longer timeout in my security settings, but the only option available on the new iPhone 6 is “immediate.” Has Apple taken away this feature because of Touch ID?
A: Yes and no. With Touch ID, Apple likely presumes that it’s so fast and easy to unlock your iPhone with your fingerprint that you shouldn’t need to worry about having a longer timeout, so for security reasons, the timeout is forcibly set to “Immediate” and you won’t be able to choose a longer one.
However, you aren’t required to use Touch ID, even on devices that support it, and if you choose to switch the Touch ID option OFF, the previous options for longer timeouts will return. Also note that you can turn Touch ID off for “iPhone Unlock” without disabling it for other features such as the iTunes Store or other third-party apps that may make use of it for security.
To be fair, assuming that you’re not having problems with getting Touch ID to recognize your fingerprint, the process of unlocking your iPhone with Touch ID should be about as quick as swiping to unlock it during the passcode timeout. Instead of using the top or side “Sleep/Wake” button to turn on the screen, and then placing your finger on the Touch ID sensor, you can simply press the home button to wake up your iPhone and then leave your finger resting on that button — you’ll usually end up barely even seeing the lock screen in the process.