Dropbox has added Touch ID support to its app for iPhone and iPad, putting a biometric barrier in the way of accessing files saved in the cloud storage system. The security addition, which builds on Apple’s opening up of Touch ID as an authenticator for third-party apps in iOS 8, joins the existing PIN code lock which can optionally be enabled, demanding your fingerprint before it will let you browse through folders or upload new files. It comes at the tail-end of a PR war for Dropbox, as it attempts to distance itself and its security measures from a recent hack.
Earlier this month, Dropbox blamed a third-party lapse for inadvertently spilling user credentials, arguing that it itself had not been exploited. Either way, questions lingered around how careful people are about access to their cloud storage.
The Touch ID integration won’t address that entirely, but it does strike a better balance between convenience and data safety than the previous system. Punching in a PIN is a second or two of extra work compared to holding your thumb against the home button, after all.
Dropbox will automatically sign a device out if the wrong PIN is entered ten times, or if the biometric requirements aren’t met.
While it’s not going to prevent every potential hack, it’s probably a wise option to turn on, particularly for those who don’t have some sort of overall lock on their phone. You’ll need to be running iOS 8 on a Touch ID enabled Apple device – iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s, and the newly-updated iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 – in order to take advantage.