Integrate Touch ID and Face ID to your React Native App

Adding authentication using the user’s Touch ID or the new Face ID is easier than ever in your React Native App.

Using Touch ID also known as fingerprint authentication is extremely popular in mobile apps. The Touch ID feature secures the app and makes it a seamless authentication flow for the user.

Many banking apps like Bank of America, Discover, Chase, use Touch ID authentication enabling secure and seamless authentication.

The users don’t have to type the long passwords every time at login, by allowing them to login with their Touch ID.

With the iPhone X we have the provision to use Face ID authentication. Both Touch ID and Face ID authentication have improved the user’s interaction with mobile apps, making them secure.

In this post we are going to integrate Touch ID and Face ID authentication using the popular react-native-touch-id library.

Installation

Installation is fairly simple with the react-native-touch-id library.

If you are using yarn run the following command:

yarn add react-native-touch-id

If you are an npm user run the following command:

npm i --save react-native-touch-id

Make sure to link the library using the following command:

react-native link react-native-touch-id

After the installation is complete, we would need to add the app permissions to both android and iOS files.

In the AndroidManifest.xml add:

<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.USE_FINGERPRINT"/>

In the Info.plist add:

<key>NSFaceIDUsageDescription</key>
<string>Enabling Face ID allows you quick and secure access to your account.</string>

Once the above steps are complete, you are all set to start using the react-native-touch-id library within your app.

Usage

In the simple example below we are creating a component FingerPrint.js.

The function that is used for authenticating the user’s Touch ID is the authenticate(reason, config) function from the react-native-touch-id library.

TouchID.authenticate(reason, config)

This function authenticates with Touch ID or Face ID and returns a promise object. The reason is an optional string that is displayed to the user. It can provide information on why authentication is needed. The config is an optional object that can have more details to display in the dialog.

In the example above you can observe that the pressHandler() function handles the user’s Touch ID authentication using the TouchID.authentication() function. If the authentication does fail for some reason an error code is returned.

All of biometric authentication error codes are available in the official apple documentation:

TouchID.isSupported()

This function lets you know if biometric authentication is supported. It resolves to a string of TouchID or FaceID.

The example below shows usage of the isSupported() function.

The react-native-touch-id library supports use of Face ID for iPhone X devices. The isSupported() function returns the biometry type that is supported and enabled in the device. If the device does not support either Touch ID or Face ID then we will have to fallback to use of passwords or passcode.

Note here that the isSupported() function needs to be invoked before we call the authenticate() function. This ensures that we don’t authenticate using this library when biometric authentication is not available. A fallback authentication mechanism can be used in this case.

Putting it all together

The code below shows the cleaned up version of our authentication using react-native-touch-id. Notice here that we are saving the biometryType to the component’s state. We need to ensure to give the right message to the user on whether they are authenticating with the Touch ID or Face ID.

Yay! You have now integrated the biometric authentication into your React Native application.

You can now explore the UI and different fallback options for your app when Touch ID or Face ID are not available on the user’s device.

Remember, when you are storing user passwords and sensitive information at login, you will have to store them in a secure keychain. The react-native-keychain library provides keychain access for React Native making your application secure.


I hope you enjoyed this post and checkout the react-native-touch-id library. I am a Senior Software Engineer working on React Native development.

Read my latest post on Redux Reducers.

You can follow me on twitter and visit http://adhithiravichandran.com/ for more information and posts on React Native from me.