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5 Common Touch ID Problems and Fixes

Common Touch ID problems include issues where Touch ID does not work or when Touch ID fails. There are easy solutions to most of these Touch ID problems and if you haven’t reset Touch ID since you bought the iPhone there is s very simple solution. We’ll also help you with problems like your MacBook Pro Touch ID not working.

Touch ID is the official name for the fingerprint reader on the iPhone and iPad. Touch ID is included on the iPhone 5s and up as well as the iPad mini 3 and up. It is also available on the 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Apple enhances the Touch ID sensor in newer devices, so it is worth trying even if you used to have too many Touch ID problems to make using it worthwhile.

Most users know that it can unlock the iPhone, iPad or MacBook Pro with a touch, but it can also let users log in to apps like Amazon, LastPass, and others. Touch ID also connects to the App Store to let users pay for apps with a fingerprint as well. Many apps also let users log in with Touch ID, and it is useful for buying things with Apple Pay.

Here's how to fix Touch ID problems.
Here’s how to fix Touch ID problems.

When Touch ID works perfectly you can unlock the iPhone, buy something on Amazon and then make a purchase in the App Store without entering a passcode or a password. Unfortunately, sometimes Touch ID doesn’t work due to a variety of Touch ID problems and issues.

If your Touch ID Problems start right after updating iOS 10 to another version, you may need to downgrade while you have a chance or deal with the problem until another upgrade arrives. We’ve seen some iOS updates degrade performance, and the next one fix them. Throughout 2016 and into 2017 we’ve already seen several new iOS updates deliver fixes and features.

Although it may seem like a Touch ID problem, there is a reason that your iPhone asks for your passcode more frequently on recent updates. Apple outlines a requirement that we’ve run into a few times. If you don’t use your passcode for six days and the Touch ID has not unlocked the phone for eight hours, you will need to enter a passcode. That is Apple’s rule, and it is set for your security.

The MacBook Pro will ask for your password instead of using Touch ID if,

  • If you’ve just restarted your Mac
  • If you’ve logged out of your user account
  • If your fingerprint isn’t recognized five times in a row
  • If you haven’t unlocked your Mac in more than 48 hours
  • If you’ve just enrolled or deleted fingerprints

With a few minutes, you can fix most Touch ID problems on your own. Here’s how to fix Touch ID not working on iPhone,  iPad and the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar;

  1. Retrain Touch ID with your fingerprints.
  2. Turn Touch ID off and back on.
  3. Clean the Touch ID sensor.
  4. Check to see if Touch ID is broken.
  5. Dry your finger and Touch ID sensor.

This is how you can fix most Touch ID problems on the iPhone 5s or newer and the iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4, iPad Pro or iPad Air 2.

How to Fix Touch ID Failures

The easiest way to fix Touch ID failures is to re-train the iPhone with your fingerprints. Over the last year the iOS software updates delivered improved performance that fixed Touch ID “forgetting” fingerprints and there are general improvements to Touch ID performance on iOS 8 and higher. This can also help if your fingerprint changed slightly in the last several months due to wear, dry skin and more.

Unlock the iPhone or iPad and re-train Touch ID to fix most Touch ID failures. Before you do this make sure you remove any dirt or sweat from the Touch ID sensor and wipe any oil or sweat from your hands.

Go to Settings -> Touch ID & Passcode -> Enter your Passcode. On the next screen swipe from right to left on each fingerprint to delete them. When this is complete you can tap on Add a Fingerprint… to re-train Touch ID.

The video above shows how to set up Touch ID, which is all you need to do to fix many Touch ID problems On your MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, you can fix this by going to System Preferences, Touch ID and then hover over a fingerprint to delete it. After you delete it, click Add a fingerprint to retrain your MacBook Pro Touch ID.

How to Fix Touch ID Not Working in App Store

Another common Touch ID problem is when you cannot use it in the App Store. Sometimes this is related to to the need to re-train Touch ID, but other times it is a software issue. Some users on older versions of iOS reported that Touch ID no longer showed up on the App Store. This should fix that Touch ID problem and most other App Store Touch ID issues.

Fix Touch ID not working in the App Store.
Fix Touch ID not working in the App Store.

Go to Settings -> Touch ID & Passcode -> Enter your Passcode. Then turn off iTunes & App Store. Reboot your iPhone or iPad. Go back to Touch ID & Passcode in Settings and turn iTunes & App Store back on.

This should solve the bug that stopped Touch ID from working in the App Store. Keep in mind you still must enter a Passcode after 24 hours of no purchases.

On your MacBook Pro, you should see a prompt to use Touch ID when you make a purchase in the iTunes Store, but you may need to enter a password again if you’ve made changes to your fingerprints.

How to Fix Touch ID Not Working at All

There is an off-chance that your Touch ID sensor will break. Although rare in this instance nothing you do will work and you will not be able to train Touch ID.

If this is the case you can try a hard reset to completely wipe your iPhone and set it up like new. This may resolve the problem, but if it does not you will need to visit an Apple Store or send the iPhone in for repair.

In cases where Touch ID stops working on the MacBook Pro, you should try a restart and if that fails contact Apple before taking any more drastic steps like starting from scratch.

How to Fix Touch ID Problems In Cold or Winter

When it is cold out or during winter there is an increase in Touch ID problems. The cold weather wears your hands greatly and it can often change the print just enough to make Touch ID stop working.

Retrain Touch ID for cold weather.
Retrain Touch ID for cold weather.

It is a good idea to re-train Touch ID on the iPhone or iPad with your winter-worn hands. If you are not using all the available fingerprint options, you can also just add a new fingerprint when your hands are cold.

This may solve the problem partially. Unfortunately this may continue to be a problem during cold weather even if you re-train.

How to Fix Touch ID Problems When Wet or Dirty

If your fingers or the Touch ID sensor is dirty or wet it will likely fail. This is due to water, dirt or prune-like fingers preventing a good scan.

If it is just water or dirt on the sensor or your finger you should wipe both of them off with a clean cloth. This will not help if your fingers are wrinkled by too much time in the water.

Apple cautions that, “Moisture, lotions, sweat, oils, cuts, or dry skin might affect fingerprint recognition. Certain activities can also temporarily affect fingerprint recognition, including exercising, showering, swimming, or cooking.”

The new iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 Touch ID sensor works better in wet situations, but it is not perfect if there is a lot of moisture.

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25 Comments

  1. Sepp

    07/31/2015 at 7:49 pm

    what to do when touch pad locked and passcode forgotten ?

    Reply

    • James Stark

      03/18/2016 at 11:58 pm

      turn your phone off and on

      Reply

    • VirginiaCarver (@VirginKelly3)

      05/27/2016 at 4:39 pm

      I get paid over $87 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing, Learn More

      Reply

  2. Faina

    12/24/2015 at 7:34 am

    HI! Can the issue be that a small part of the golden ring on my Iphone is closed by the protective glass? Is the golden ring part of the sensor? Can I unstick the glass and then stick it back again?

    Reply

  3. Garylking

    01/01/2016 at 8:47 am

    1=23 my buddy’s sister makes $89 /hour on the laptop . She has been unemployed for nine months but last month her payment was $13669 just working on the laptop for a few hours.

    you can check here… See More

    Reply

  4. Deepak

    03/20/2016 at 1:27 am

    My Touch ID is not working

    Reply

  5. Blackninja38

    04/01/2016 at 5:57 pm

    TAKE YOUR CASE OFF

    Reply

  6. Ficklenerd

    04/05/2016 at 1:11 pm

    You missed another issue that plagues me a lot. My iPAD air 2 is WIFI only and is off air for many hours at a time between uses.

    Every time, like clockwork, I am required to enter my passcode after such a long event of being offline so long. The fingerprint does NOTHING, not even types in my passcode automatically.

    After I use my passcode, I can let it sleep many many times over days so long as it has WIFI in between and the fingerprint always works to unlock my iPad.

    Its extremely frustrating to be on the commuter train with only one hand available and my touch fingerprint doesnt even try to work since my iPad was offline between uses.

    I have trained the touch ID with 4 fingers at all angles, so I know its not the reader. It seems more like policy designed to require the passcode when its disconnected from the internet longer than a certain period.

    Really dumb policy if thats true.

    Reply

  7. Ficklenerd

    04/06/2016 at 12:23 am

    Correction: As it turns out, my Ipad 2 Air does produce an excuse for requiring the code instead of accepting the fingerprint.

    After its been sleeping for a while, the access code excuse is “TouchID requires the access code upon booting up from a shutdown”.

    So, Apple decided that sleeping, even while plugged into the charger, is considered a shutdown and must therefore deprive me of using my Touch ID fingerprint and having to type the access code in again?

    How exactly does this protect my privacy or provide convenience?

    Still a dumb policy.

    I bet Steve Jobs is rolling in his grave.

    Reply

  8. carole

    04/08/2016 at 4:07 am

    I don’t recall being asked to create a passcode when I ilitialized my TouchID thumb print …
    how can I create one when the phone keeps deactivating ???? This is crazy !

    Reply

    • sam serious

      05/14/2016 at 12:57 pm

      Carole, have you had it sorted yet, as i have fell into the same hole and not set up a pass code just touch, and along came an update and you know the rest, apple need to make it clear you need a pass code and a fingerprint setting up…………hope yours is sorted and if i get mine sorted i will reply

      Reply

    • Sue

      09/04/2016 at 2:32 am

      I have the same problem no passcode so now cannot use my phone. Am ready to try a different brand!! Sick of being pushed into using pass codes when I only use my phone to make phone calls. Is there a way of getting rid of this pest?

      Reply

  9. Onatman

    04/29/2016 at 6:08 am

    If my iPhone6+ idle for more than 7minutes, I should fill in the 6 digits password first before all of my 5 touch ids work. Silly…

    Reply

  10. sam serious

    05/14/2016 at 12:54 pm

    Carole, have you had it sorted yet, as i have fell into the same hole and not set up a pass code just touch, and along came an update and you know the rest, apple need to make it clear you need a pass code and a fingerprint setting up…………hope yours is sorted and if i get mine sorted i will reply

    Reply

  11. Emma

    06/11/2016 at 10:08 pm

    Some of my fingers on touch id, i have an iphone 6plus, stopped working a few days after i upgraded to 9.3.2.

    Following forum advice, i turned off the function and completed a soft reset.

    Now when i go back into touch id it goes to the screen asking me to set up and then within a second it switches to a screen telling me that it has failed and is unable to compete touch id and i should try again later.

    Between it working and not working i’ve done nothing different with my phone. The only change is the update.

    Any help?

    Reply

  12. Prashanth

    07/16/2016 at 7:45 am

    Emma, even I am facing the same problem as you after upgrade to 9.3.2 really crazy how this upgrades kill our phones. Now after touch id stopped working on my iPhone 6 even that home button failed to work.

    Leh me know if anyone have any solution for the above issue.

    Reply

  13. Erika

    07/26/2016 at 1:37 pm

    I sent My iPhone 6s for service, i had a broken screen. One week ago I picked up à new exchange unit (probably no Idea to fix my broken one). The problem is my touch id stopped working today. It doesen’t work at all… I paid 300 dollars to repair my phone and now this exchange unit stopped working. So angry and disapointed at Apple. Some ideas what could be wrong?

    Reply

  14. LouF

    09/29/2016 at 11:21 pm

    I’ve noticed that a programming scan does not work if the phone is charging. I thought I couldn’t get through adding/rescanning a print after doing tile grout work, but after unpluging the Lightning cable the read worked fine. The first time. There were at least five failed tries.

    I sometimes also get an erratic touch screen/display (jumps ALL around). This just happened again while leaving this comment. I unplugged the cable, and it stopped.

    I find many times I spend more time futzing with this TouchID trying to unlock the phone than not. I’ll give it a little more time, but it’s on the verge of the being disabled as with I’ve done with almost all of the new features Apple adds. How about an “undo” in Notes.

    Reply

  15. VENKI

    10/09/2016 at 4:02 am

    how to downgrade ios 10.0.2 to 9.3.5 for iphone 5s

    Reply

  16. Draco

    11/18/2016 at 9:10 am

    Factory reset gave a message that the phone was incompatible with touch id, even though it used to work. The problems are mechanical, like the touch screen ones that Apple is now charging users to fix, claiming it is user error.

    Reply

  17. Pissed

    12/01/2016 at 12:05 pm

    So your solution to fix the Touch ID problem is to reset you finger print again and again???
    So you are saying that this fixes the problem??? If i Go to Settings -> Touch ID & Passcode -> Enter your Pass code. On the next screen swipe from right to left on each fingerprint to delete them. When this is complete you can tap on Add a Fingerprint… to re-train Touch ID.
    This is workaround not a fix, it does not fix anything, if the problem occurs every day, twice a day???
    Back in in my day, when we say things like you article states “How to Fix Touch ID Failures” it fixed the problem. It seems that now a days we settle for temporary solutions to problems especially in the computer industry (software and hardware problems) and we are being trained to accept this as a standard, well we sell this feature but it kind of works, but it does not oh well, what ever happened to accountability –

    Reply

  18. David Amies

    01/28/2017 at 4:12 pm

    It seems that the problem with Touc ID is that it actually doesn’t work very well. Software or hardware, looks as if Mr Apple needs to go back to his drawing board.

    David

    Reply

  19. A. Chappaz

    03/22/2017 at 10:12 am

    Whether or not the fixes work, having to retrain fingers several times a week is underwhelming, to say the least.

    Reply

    • Josh Smith

      03/22/2017 at 10:27 am

      Do you have to retrain more in cold weather or do you work in a position where you have a lot of wear and tear on your hands?

      Reply

    • LouF

      03/22/2017 at 12:31 pm

      Retraining “imprints” instead of “fingers” would be more accurate. You also may more mean “tedious” instead of “underwhelming”. Not tying to nitpick, but it really doesn’t mean what you’re trying to say.

      Reply

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