Fix a bro­ken Touch ID fin­ger­print scan­ner

Ash­leigh Macro re­veals what to do when your iPhone/iPad’s fin­ger­print sen­sor stops work­ing

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

Ap­ple’s iPhone 5s and later, and the iPad Air 2 and later, all have a Touch ID fin­ger­print sen­sor, which al­lows you to ditch your pass­code in favour of your fin­ger­print. How­ever, as with most tech­nol­ogy, some­times things can go wrong. Here, we take you through the trou­bleshoot­ing steps so you know what to do if

your Touch ID fin­ger­print sen­sor isn’t work­ing. If you set it up some while ago and it had worked fine pre­vi­ously, chances are that we can fix what­ever has gone wrong now. If Touch ID doesn’t work from the first mo­ment you get your iPhone or iPad out of the box, you may want to book a Ge­nius ap­point­ment at the Ap­ple Store to get them to take a look at it. It’s pos­si­ble that the com­po­nent is faulty and you’ll need a re­place­ment.

Clean the scan­ner

The first port of call is to clean the Touch ID sen­sor. It takes a high-res­o­lu­tion pic­ture of the sub-epi­der­mal lay­ers of your skin to read your fin­ger­print and com­pare it to the fin­ger­print it has on file, so if there’s dirt or grime on the Home but­ton, the like­li­hood is your iPhone or iPad will have dif­fi­culty con­firm­ing that you re­ally are who you say you are. You can clean the Home but­ton with a lint-free cloth.

Up­date iOS

If clean­ing the sen­sor doesn’t help, it’s worth check­ing that your iPhone or iPad’s op­er­at­ing sys­tem is up to date. To check, go to Set­tings > Gen­eral > Soft­ware Up­date. Ap­ple uses mi­nor iOS up­dates to fix bugs and make im­prove­ments to the soft­ware, and the fin­ger­print sen­sor tech­nol­ogy could be part of those im­prove­ments.

Po­si­tion your fin­ger cor­rectly

Ap­ple ad­vises that users should cover the Home but­ton com­pletely when us­ing the fin­ger­print sen­sor. You should also make sure not to tap too

quickly or press down too hard, and should keep your fin­ger still while it’s be­ing scanned. (This should only take a sec­ond or two.) Once you’ve got the hang of this, it’ll be­come sec­ond na­ture. (It did for us).

Case prob­lems

iPhone and iPad cases and cov­ers have cutouts for the Home but­ton, but some­times the cutout is quite tight. Check to see if it’s pos­si­ble that part of the case ma­te­rial is block­ing part of your fin­ger­print. You may need to find an al­ter­na­tive case.

En­able Touch ID un­lock

The first is to go to Set­tings > Gen­eral > Touch ID & Pass­code > Touch ID and make sure that iPhone Un­lock is en­abled (it’ll be green if it is). If you want to use your fin­ger­print to make pur­chases in iTunes and the App Store, you can en­able iTunes & App Store here, too.

Add more fin­ger­prints

An­other thing you’ll ben­e­fit from is the abil­ity to add more fin­ger­prints. You can add up to five fin­ger­prints, and then you’ll be able to use any one of those fingers to un­lock the

de­vice (you don’t spec­ify a de­fault – any one is equally good at the job). To add more fin­ger­prints, go to Set­tings > Gen­eral > Touch ID & Pass­code > Touch ID.

Add cold-weather fin­ger­prints

This might sound odd, but cold weather can change your fin­ger­prints – only a tiny amount, but some­times enough to con­fuse a fin­ger­print scan­ner. The skin may sim­ply be dried out by the brisk win­ter air; we are all fa­mil­iar with the rough, chafed skin that is com­mon at this time of year. But the in­di­vid­ual folds of skin that make up your fin­ger­print may also be stiff­ened by the lower tem­per­a­ture.

For these rea­sons, if prob­lems with Touch ID ap­pear to be es­pe­cially or only bad when the ther­mome­ter drops, and if you’ve got the fin­ger­print slots to spare, it’s of­ten worth re-reg­is­ter­ing your fin­ger­prints for cold weather – per­haps just the two thumbs. Sim­ply en­ter the fin­ger­prints as nor­mal, but make sure you do so when you, the weather and most im­por­tantly your fingers are cold.

If you’re do­ing this specif­i­cally to deal with the cold then it’s prob­a­bly worth keep­ing the ‘warm weather’ ver­sions of those fin­ger­prints on the

sys­tem, so it still works when you’re in the warmth of your home, for in­stance. The sim­i­lar prints shouldn’t in­ter­fere with each other; they will be sim­ply be two of the op­tions Touch ID is look­ing for.

Re-regis­ter a fin­ger­print

If there’s a par­tic­u­lar fin­ger that’s al­ready regis­tered but isn’t work­ing, you can re-en­rol it. Go to Set­tings > Gen­eral > Touch ID & Pass­code > Touch ID > Edit. From here you can delete a fin­ger­print, then fol­low the in­struc­tions to add a new fin­ger­print. This will re­place the old print. To find the faulty fin­ger­print hold your fin­ger over the scan­ner and see which of the recorded fin­ger­prints are not high­lighted.

If you’ve tried all of these things to no avail, then a trip to the Ap­ple Store is in or­der. You can book an ap­point­ment with an Ap­ple Ge­nius at

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