An employee holds an Apple Inc. iPhone with the "check out" section of a demonstration bank payment web page using the Zapp money transfer and payment system in this arranged photograph at the company's offices in London, U.K., on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014.
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images
By John Patrick Pullen
December 12, 2014

Like most of Apple’s new technologies and modern conveniences, Touch ID is something you didn’t know you needed until you got it. As a fingerprint-authorized security sensor embedded in your iPhone 5S-or-newer handset (and on the newest iPads), this innovation lets you securely unlock your phone with a simple touch and make wallet-less purchases using the company’s Apple Pay service.

But that’s only where this technology begins. Here are five more ways you can use Touch ID to lock down your digital life:

Authenticate Your Apps

As great as Touch ID is, it will only keep people from monkeying with your Apple device. If someone knows the password to your web-based accounts like Facebook or Gmail, they can just log in on other hardware. Two-factor authentication, the process of using more than just a password to log into a service, doubles up your security, and apps like Authy can give you that added layer by providing you with a “token,” or a code that changes every 20 seconds.

This technology isn’t new, but Authy (which is free) allows users to lock app with Touch ID, giving it three levels of authentication — one of which being your fingerprint — making your accounts as secure as can be.

Unlock Your Computer

Once you start using Touch ID to secure your iPhone or iPad, you’ll start wondering why you still have to peck a password into your computer. Well, you can get around that with FingerKey, a $1.99 iOS app (with a complementary Mac program) that uses the fingerprint sensor embedded in your mobile device’s home button to autofill your computer’s passkey.

By pairing the phone to your computer via Bluetooth, the software duo forms a secure connection, waking the computer and entering your password. Right now, the solution is only available for Apple computers, but Linux and Windows versions are already in the works.

Secure Your Phone Records

Using Google Voice is a great way to trim back on your cellular service, but you can also take your number with you, roaming-free, when you travel worldwide. There are many ways to access the service on an iPhone, but one way to keep the app under wraps is by using GV Connect. This $2.99 app not only bundles together all of Google Voice’s great features, like voicemail transcription and text messaging, but it also lets users lock down the app using Touch ID, ensuring that all your records, texts, and voicemails stay private.

Protect Your Personal Journal

Remember when you were a kid, and your little sister Cindy read your diary? Oh wait, you’re not Marsha Brady. But then again, who writes diaries anymore? Instead, they log extensive journals on great apps like DayOne, a 2014 Apple Design Award winner that allows users to capture all the details of their lives using smartphone tools, from what song was playing when you first met her, to what the weather was like on the day he was born.

And with Touch ID security, now those details are locked away as safely — or moreso, perhaps — as if they were in your mind. So rest assured, your deepest thoughts and biggest secrets can indeed be committed to text while being completely shielded from prying eyes.

Sign Sensitive Documents

In 2005, Iraqi voters produced images of what they call the “electoral stain,” an ink-covered finger of people who just made their mark. If you can vote with a fingerprint, imagine if you could sign a contract with one too. SignEasy lets iPhone and iPad users do this through its handy app, linking the secure fingerprint sensor with e-signatures to authorize documents via mobile devices.

More secure than just scrawling your name on the touchpad, this free app makes the process more secure than before, when a four-digit pin code was required to make your mark. Get that — a pin code. How quaint! You might as well just use a pen.

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