iPhone Touch ID Not Working? Here’s the Fix

The iPhone and iPad Touch ID is a fan favorite among Apple users. Until Apple released FaceID in 2017, it was the best biometric security feature able to authenticate your identity and make purchases in the App Store and other places. 

If you’re experiencing issues with your Touch ID such as being unable to set it up or a different error, then check out this guide on how to fix an iPhone Touch ID not working.

Before You Do Anything: Check Your iOS

When Apple released FaceID, it caused problems for many people using Touch ID. Apple has issued updates to fix this but occasionally someiPhone may experience issues. In certain cases, Apple may have already fixed the issue. So before you do anything try Updating to the latest OS. However, if that doesn’t work for you then check out these strategies compatible with both iOS 11/12 along with the iOS 13 (beta). Let’s dive right in:

How to Fix iPhone Touch ID Not Working

Touch ID is a fantastic feature, but sometimes it can be a little fussy. Essentially, several things need to go exactly right for it to function correctly. If there is one problem along the way, it won’t work at all. 

To make things easy for you, we’ve put the steps in order working from easier to more complex directions to address the problem. Even if you have already tried some of these steps be sure to start from the beginning. Also, after completing each step try Touch ID once again to see if it works.

1) Make Sure Your Finger and Fingerprint Reader is Dry and Clean

iPhone Touch ID

Use a microfiber cloth—the same kind you use for sunglasses or your computer screen— to remove any debris or dirt that may be on your device on your finger that may prevent the reader from functioning properly. In some cases, even a tiny drop of water or sweat can prevent your iPhone from reading your fingerprint. 

If your Home button is looking dirty, clean it was a slow, light circular motion around the Home button. Then reverse direction and gently clean the other way to remove any dirt. Now reboot your phone and give Touch ID another try.

2) Scan Your Fingerprint with the Right Technique

Touch ID is sensitive. You need to use it the right way. All you do is lightly touch the home button giving the reader a couple of seconds to read your fingerprint. Don’t press down hard on the button. Instead, make sure your whole finger is lying on the reader while keeping it still.

Sometimes, you might need to rest your finger on the reader and then press the Home button once to unlock. You can enable/disable this feature under the Accessibility tab in settings. Select Rest Finger to Open under the home button options.

3) Check Your Case and Screen Protector

It’s easy for cases and screen protectors to move out of alignment and block the fingerprint scanner. Also, they may trap excessive heat sometimes which can prevent the Touch ID sensor from scanning your print.

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4) Turn Touch ID Off and On

Turn Passcode OffIf a normal restart fails to fix your phone, then refresh your Touch ID by simply turning the feature off and on. Under your iPhone settings select Touch ID & Passcode. After entering your passcode, disable iPhone Unlock and other features. Reset your devices and then enable again.

5) Do a Hard Reboot

If these steps haven’t helped them maybe you need to do a hard restart. Hard restarts clear more memory for a more thorough reset. Don’t worry, it won’t remove any of your data. To do a hard reset follow these steps:

For iPhone 8 Later or Later

Press and release the Volume Up, followed by a quick press and release of the Volume Down button. Finally, press and release the Side button until the Apple Logo appears.

For Earlier Models:

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus: Press and hold both the Volume Down and Side buttons for ten seconds or longer until the Apple logo appears. If the “slide to restart” message shows, ignore it until the white screen appears.

iPhone 6S and before: Press and hold the Home and Side buttons for over ten seconds. Ignore the slide bar if it pops up. Keep holding until you see the white screen. Sometimes it can take 20 or even 30 seconds to reset.

6) Delete and Add New FingerprintAdd New Fingerprint

Many users are able to fix the problem simply by deleting the old fingerprint and creating a new one. Under your iPhone settings choose Touch ID & Passcode, select each fingerprint and hit Delete Fingerprint.

Restart the phone. And then select the Add a Fingerprint option.  Input your fingerprints.

7) Reset Your Network Settings

Reset Factory Settings

This may sound strange, but some users have been able to fix an iPhone Touch ID not working through resetting their network settings. Under the General tab in settings select Reset and choose Reset Network Settings. Restart your phone and give it a try.

8) Do a Factory Reset

Factory Reset

Factory resets aren’t a scary as they seem. If you regularly sync and backup your iPhone, you really have nothing to worry about. Factory resets will also give you a nice fresh start on your phone. Connect your phone to the computer or iCloud and do a quick check to make sure everything is recently synced. Then under Settings, select Reset All Content and Settings. You’ll have to set up everything again from scratch so save this as one of your last options.

9) Restore Phone Via iTunes

If none of these solutions are helpful to you then connect your phone to your computer and open iTunes. From iTunes, you can do a full restore of your iPhone. Although, you should do this an absolute last effort as it’s an even deeper reset of your phone. Once again make sure you’ve backed up all your important data to iCloud beforehand.

Unable to activate Touch ID on iPhone

Some people may not to be able to activate touch ID and receive a message saying “Unable to complete Touch ID setup” or the feature appears greyed out. These above steps likely won’t be able to help you.

Instead, begin with the hard reboot from Step 5. You may also want to update your iOS and reset to factory settings. Now follow these steps:

1) Unplug your iPhone

Sometimes issues with the iPhone cable either overheating or causing software issues can prevent Touch ID from working. Remove the cable from your phone.

2) Turn off your passcode

Under settings, select Turn Passcode Off in the Touch ID & Passcode section. Disabling the passcode enables a soft reset of security settings. Restart your phone and then enable your passcode again. Then try to set up your Touch ID. This behind the scenes work can trigger a fix to the system.

3) Sign Out of Your Apple ID

Under settings, select your name. Then choose Sign out. Follow the steps and then log back in and attempt to set up your Touch ID.

My iPhone Touch ID Still is Not Working!

If you’ve followed all of these steps, and you’re still not having luck with your Touch ID, chances are you may have a serious problem going on. The sensor on your phone may be faulty or damaged. In this case, you’ll likely need to contact Apple for support.

Be sure to mention to them that you’ve already gone through all the steps above so they don’t waste your time. Over the phone or online, there’s not much else they will be able to do. Depending on your warranty status, you may be able to take it to your local Genius Bar or send your phone to Apple and they’ll be able to make the repair for you.

If your Applecare plan has expired already, you can also find DIY kits online to replace your home button. You can do it yourself and the process is relatively easy, taking less than an hour to do at home.

Finally, if you’re tired of your old, damaged iPhone and looking for easy ways to upgrade to Apple’s latest products, then you can sell your phone here!