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Not all iPhone 5 Cases Will Work as an iPhone 5s Case

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The iPhone 5s is exactly the same size as the iPhone 5, but not all iPhone 5 cases will work with the slightly redesigned iPhone 5s.

Apple added one new feature that limits the iPhone 5 case options users can put on the iPhone 5s and retain full functionality — a fingerprint sensor.

The iPhone 5s fingerprint sensor, called Touch ID by Apple, is a new security feature that scans the owner’s fingerprints to unlock the iPhone instead of entering a PIN or an Apple ID password.

Read: 15 iPhone 5S Features You’ll Actually Care About

This Otterbox iPhone 5 case will not work fully as an iPhone 5S case.

This OtterBox iPhone 5 case will not work fully as an iPhone 5s case.

Right now the iPhone 5s Touch ID feature only works to unlock the iPhone 5s and to enter an Apple ID password for Apple purchases, and it is not compatible with third-party iPhone apps. While Touch ID is not mandatory, it is a key iPhone 5s feature that we think many users will enjoy.

Apple designed the iPhone 5s Touch ID sensor with a metal ring that surrounds the new home button. While initially thought of as a way to accentuate the new home button, Apple relies on this metal ring to detect a finger and turn the Touch ID sensor on. This is an issue for many rugged iPhone 5 cases, which completely cover the home button with rubber to maintain a waterproof seal or to deliver better protection.

The new Otterbox iPhone 5S case does not cover the home button Touch ID sensor.

The new OtterBox iPhone 5s case does not cover the home button Touch ID sensor.

If there is a layer of plastic or rubber over the iPhone 5s home button it may interfere with the Sapphire glass cover that helps focus the fingerprint for the built-in Touch ID sensor. Apple claims the new Touch ID sensor can read all of your fingerprints at any orientation thanks to the software and hardware combination, so it’s possible even cases with a clear thin cover here could pose a problem.

We are already seeing rugged case makers respond with redesigned iPhone 5s cases. The new OtterBox iPhone 5s cases no longer uses a rubber cover over the iPhone home button. There is still a built-in screen protector, which we hope OtterBox is able to quickly test with the Touch ID sensor.

We could see new iPhone 5S case designs to match this new design very soon. Many other cases are already compatible such as a collection of iPhone 5S battery cases, an iPhone 5S wireless charging case and many others. Apple also announced an official iPhone 5S case and iPhone 5S dock. Stay tuned for an iPhone 5S case roundup this week with more options.

Josh Smith is Editor of GottaBeMobile and Notebooks.com. He's always looking for ways to help you get the most of your gear and loves to talk about tech on radio and TV. Josh uses an iOS and Android devices as well as Mac and Windows Computers. Josh Smith on Google+ Email: [email protected]

3 Comments

  1. justabrake

    09/13/2013 at 3:20 pm

    I have the otterbox defender 5 case and i’m going to wait and see if I can cut out the button on it to make it work for the 5s ! I’m going to try a rotozip or a dremel tool if not I put in for another custom from otterbox

  2. Josh

    12/22/2013 at 1:19 am

    I’d like to try cutting out the button as well. For the otterbox defender 5 cases, are those buttons rubber? In other words, easy to cut?

  3. thuan

    12/27/2013 at 2:44 pm

    additionally, pictures get foggy with iphone 5 leather case. my iphone 5s come with two flashes therefore it required a bigger flash opening to avoid flashing rebouncing affect. ebay sellers said the case will work with 5/5s. if you have 5s don’t believe that!

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