How to Fix Touch ID Issues on an iPhone or iPad

Introduction

Touch ID is Apple's fingerprint identity sensor. It allows you to unlock your device, log in to apps, use Apple Pay, and make purchases from the App Store and iTunes by touching and briefly holding your finger against the sensor.

iOS touch ID

Unfortunately, it doesn't always work. This guide aims to help you resolve any issues you have with the Touch ID not working.

1 Restart

Powering off an iPhone.

  1. Hold down the lock / power button.
  2. Slide to power off when prompted.
  3. Wait until the phone is off.
  4. Hold down the lock / power button until you see the Apple logo.

? After restarting, is Touch ID working?

  1. Yes
  2. No

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Touch ID is Apple's fingerprint identity sensor. It allows you to unlock your device, log in to apps, use Apple Pay, and make purchases from the App Store and iTunes by touching and briefly holding your finger against the sensor.

iOS touch ID

Unfortunately, it doesn't always work. This guide aims to help you resolve any issues you have with the Touch ID not working.

Powering off an iPhone.

  1. Hold down the lock / power button.
  2. Slide to power off when prompted.
  3. Wait until the phone is off.
  4. Hold down the lock / power button until you see the Apple logo.

If you have a case or screen protector, make sure it doesn't cover the Home button or the surrounding ring.

Make sure your finger is dry. It should cover the Home button completely. While Touch ID is scanning do not move your finger around.

Make sure your Home Button is free of dust and debris. You can use a Q-tip and a small amount of alcohol to clean it.

iOS device with home button being cleaned

To check and see if updates are available for your iOS device:

  1. Select Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select General.
    iOS Settings highlighting the general option.
  3. Select Software Update.
    iOS general settings menu highlighting software update.
  4. Your iOS device will perform a search for available iOS updates.
    • If no update is available, it will display your current version of iOS and inform you that your software is up to date.
      iOS Software update menu displaying update status.
    • If an update is available, it will be displayed.
      iOS Software update menu displaying an available update, highlighting download and install.
      • Select Download and Install to begin the update process.
      • If prompted, enter your passcode to proceed.
  1. Select Settings.
    iOS settings
  2. Select Touch ID and Passcode.
    iOS settings with touch id and passcode highlighted
  3. If you have a passcode you'll be asked for it. Enter it here.
    iOS enter passcode page
  4. Select Add a Fingerprint.
    iOS Add a fingerprint
  5. Rest your finger on the home button.
  6. Lift and rest it repeatedly until the fingerprint is complete.
    iOS image showing how to create a fingerprint
  7. Select Continue.
    iOS touch ID complete
We're going to walk you through resetting your Touch ID settings. This involves deleting and then adding them again.
  1. Select Settings.
    iOS settings icon
  2. Select Touch ID and Passcode.
    iOS settings with Touch ID and passcode selected
  3. If you have a passcode you'll be asked for it. Enter it here.
    iOS enter passcode field
  4. Choose the fingerprint you want to delete.
    iOS Touch ID settings with Fingerprint 1 selected
  5. Select Delete.
    iOS delete icon for touch id
  1. Select Settings.
    iOS settings
  2. Select Touch ID and Passcode.
    iOS settings with touch id and passcode highlighted
  3. If you have a passcode you'll be asked for it. Enter it here.
    iOS enter passcode page
  4. Select Add a Fingerprint.
    iOS Add a fingerprint
  5. Rest your finger on the home button.
  6. Lift and rest it repeatedly until the fingerprint is complete.
    iOS image showing how to create a fingerprint
  7. Select Continue.
    iOS touch ID complete
  1. Select Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select General.
    Settings with General highlighted.
  3. Select Reset.
    General settings with Reset highlighted.
  4. Select Erase All Content and Settings, and enter your iPhone's passcode (if prompted).
    iOS Reset menu highlighting erase all content and settings.
  5. You will receive a confirmation prompt offering to Backup Then Erase or Erase Now. If you would like to back up your device's information before erasing, select Backup Then Erase. Otherwise, select Erase Now.
    iOS Erase all content and settings confirmation prompt.

Your iPhone will now wipe all data and reset back to factory defaults. When completed, you will be presented with the Welcome screen you saw when you took your iPhone out of the box for the first time.

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