There's one incredible innovation on the new Google phones that the next iPhone needs

It’s really easy to break an iPhone 6.

While you’re casually strolling down Fifth Avenue on your way to work, try accessing your phone with a slippery thumb. Rather than unlocking my phone via the thumbprint sensor on the iPhone’s main button, my phone went fumbling out of my hand onto the ground nearby. The lower left corner instantly cracked, sending a spiderweb of cracks cascading up my phone screen.

IPhone 6Ben Gilbert / Tech InsiderMy old iPhone 6, looking less than pretty after an unexpected meeting with the ground.

It sucked.

And it wouldn’t have happened had I been using the new Google phone, the Nexus 5X. That’s all because of one crucial component of Google’s new phone: the fingerprint sensor.

Here’s the front of the Nexus 5X — can you find the fingerprint sensor?

Nexus 5XBen Gilbert / Tech InsiderThis is the Nexus 5X, one of two new phones from Google.

Nope, it’s not that little fingerprint icon. It was a trick question, because I’m a real jerk! The fingerprint sensor for the Nexus 5X is actually on the back, like so:

Still don’t see it? It’s this guy:

At first glance, it seems like an odd place for a fingerprint sensor. But after using the phone for literally two minutes, it’s an easy sell. Do yourself a favour and grab your smartphone right now. No, it doesn’t matter what type it is — just grab it up with one hand. Where does your pointer finger naturally rest on the phone? The back? The side? I’m guessing it’s the back. That’s where you can offer some support to the device without feeling like you’re about to drop it. And that’s exactly where Google (and the phone’s manufacturer, LG) chose to put the thumbprint sensor.

It’s genius. I cannot be hyperbolic enough about how meaningful a change this is — I am never holding the Nexus 5X in a way that makes me feel insecure. Rather, if I am, it’s my own fault.

Where the iPhone 6 (and the Galaxy S6 and many other flagship phones) ask users to place a crucial finger on a precarious spot, the new Google phones take a gamble and move the fingerprint sensor to a place that may look strange, but functions beautifully.

Take note, Apple et al — this should be on your next phone.

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