Apple news site 9to5Mac reports the latest prerelease version of the operating software iOS 7 for iPhones and iPads that will be released later this year contains a folder called "BiometricKit UI".
Apple is expected to release a new iPhone later this year, with rumours increasing that the launch will be in early September.
The folder contains code that says the phone will display a photo of a person holding an iPhone while touching their thumb on the home button and then will display a fingerprint image that changes colour during the setup process.
Apple bought fingerprint sensor company Authentec last year for $365 million.
Authentec makes technology that cannot only identified fingerprints through scanning but also identifies the different fingers, so that each finger can be assigned a different task.
It's unclear whether Apple would use fingerprint scanning as a way letting people log into their phone, rather than type a PIN, or whether it would be linked to an eCommerce transaction system.
Apple so far has not installed Near Field Communication into its phones, which is the wireless communication system preferred by other smartphone makers including Samsung that lets people pay for goods by touching their phone against a scanner.
There also are rumours the new iPhone range will include a budget model that has been labelled the iPhone 5C.
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