The issue you’re having with Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint reader is you

“Apple’s fingerprint sensor, Touch ID, is the flagship feature on the iPhone 5s,” Christina Bonnington reports for Wired. “But it doesn’t always work the way it should. Since the sensor’s introduction last September, a growing number of issues have surfaced — including everything from phones that don’t recognize when a finger is present to those that don’t approve fingerprints they’re supposed to approve.”

“What’s going on here? While faulty software or hardware could be to blame in a few cases, the problem might also be you,” Bonnington reports. “It all hinges on first getting that robust fingerprint data. ‘Any good biometric has to start with a high-quality image,’ Integrated Biometrics’ CEO Steve Thies told Wired. His company makes a variety of compact fingerprint sensors that use a different method from Apple’s Touch ID (electroluminescence and a thin film transistor) to read fingerprints.”

Bonnington reports, “For those experiencing Touch ID issues that cause their phone to freeze, or to not work as well over time, restarting the phone or recalibrating the sensor are your best bets. And if you’re new to Touch ID or having trouble, Apple also has a guide you can reference for help.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If you’re having Touch ID issues, follow Apple’s guide for setting up and using Touch ID. If you continue to have issues, contact Apple as you likely have a rare issue where the hardware is at fault. We have several iPhone 5s units and Touch ID has asked for a fingerprint rescan approximately once per phone over the past 2+ months – almost always because our fingers were too cold from being outside or too moist during exercise.


  1. Without exaggeration I have never had a time that the Touch ID didn’t work the first time. I’ve had my phone since launch day and the Touch ID has been perfect.

    1. That’s not fair. You are touching it properly each time. Most people who have trouble are touching it with the side of their thumb or with wet fingers (from having had their finger up their nose first).

        1. Let’s get in the Way-Back Machine, Mr. Class, you posted this only hours ago:
          “or with wet fingers (from having had their finger up their nose first).”

          hypocrisy |hiˈpäkrisē|
          noun ( pl. hypocrisies )
          the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.
          ORIGIN Middle English: from Old French ypocrisie, via ecclesiastical Latin, from Greek hupokrisis ‘acting of a theatrical part,’ from hupokrinesthai ‘play a part, pretend,’ from hupo ‘under’ + krinein ‘decide, judge.’

      1. It’s fair. Because people should learn how to touch then :o) I think there’s a general sense in the Western world in general that when something doesn’t work, it ought to be the machine, someone else and something else. (not saying that isn’t the case always but still…). People sometimes do really stupid things such as what you mentioned. I have heard people whine about iCloud for example. I on the other hand have rarely had, if any, issues with iCloud (I have been using iCloud and its predecessor for years). I use common sense dealing with my Mac, iCloud etc. If my Mac is struggling to do something (not very common) and it’s telling me that through a spinning beach ball, I don’t madly try to click my mouse and try to strum my keyboard to make it get out of that state faster….. I let it alone and viola, in MOST cases, it spins for a few seconds, a minute, before it restores control to the mouse. Yet, how many people do what I just mentioned above and give in to their impatience rather than common sense?!!

        1. Wow! I have been using Macs from before you were a padawan. I have never posted foul language or expletives here but requested that others be a bit more considerate. Obviously, you prefer a place to post your thoughts about Apple products where everyone uses vulgar disrespectful language constantly. With Apple’s products being designed with excellence in mind, doesn’t it seem like we supporters could strive for the same excellence?

  2. I have had TouchID not work, but what I have found is that I had my finger positioned incorrectly on the button or, and most frequently, my hands were very dry. It seems dry hands don’t work well on the sensor.

  3. Anytime it’s not worked for me, a rub of my finger to dry or warm it, as said, fixed the problem. If it can’t read what’s below the surface, it can’t match it up.

  4. I noticed the first time I played around with it that I was scanning the center of my thumb like for a fingerprint ID. Then I realized I actually press the button with the tip of my finger and re-did the set up. It worked MUCH better the 2nd time. Bet there’s a lot of people who have a great center of thumb scan but aren’t really pressing the button with that part of their finger.

  5. My wife and I have problems with our sensors all the time. It’s pretty horrible. Maybe we have the rare hardware problem MDN mentions. I’ve even gone so far as to scan the same finger into the system twice (as two of my five) to try and cover all the bases.

    I’ll check out the guide mentioned above, as I hadn’t seen that before. I’ve been so frustrated with Touch ID. I’m glad to know lots of others are having great experiences.

    1. Wait a minute. I don’t have a Touch ID device (ie iPhone 5S) but I tried one and it does NOT ask to scan each of your 5 fingers. Are you sure you are doing it right? I think it wants multiple scans of the same finger, namely, your thumb.

      1. You can set up multiple finger prints, either for multiple users or multiple fingers. Each print that you register goes through a process of multiple scans.

        It’s worked flawlessly for me.

    2. Make sure you finish the registration. My wife was having problems and I watched her set up a finger. She did not do the finish part accurately where it asks that you touch the edge ring. That fixed it for her and it works every time now.

  6. Touch ID works great for me, almost always it is nearly instantaneous. At most-less then 2 seconds- when that happens I’m thinking something is wrong. If I have my finger on it, it works. If I “miss”, it isn’t going to work. It is A LOT easier then keying in the code all day long.

    I have both thumbs and both first fingers programed in. This allows “one hand” operation with either thumb or a “hold and touch” with opposite hand first finger.

    This is almost a “killer feature” that would prevent me from getting any other phone. I trust Apple when they said my fingerprint information is on the “chip” in the phone and NO WHERE else. I wouldn’t trust Google or Microsoft in the same way. This point is very important to me.

  7. It’s a REAL problem for some of us. Apple swapped out my 5S in a last ditch effort to make touchID work for me but that didn’t work either. My hands are just too dry. I can make it work by moistening my thumb, drying my thumb and then opening my phone but by that time I could have typed in the password a few times… I’ve turned off the feature. Maybe next summer when it’s humid…

  8. The problem I am having with a fingerprint reader is on my Macintosh. Apple bought AuthenTec, shut down the company, turned support to self service and then broke the app with the Mavericks update.
    Even better, the Mavericks installer does not remove the software on an upgrade and lock the computer up to where you cannot log in- even with the password.

    This is not sweating the details and is not what brought Apple to the place it is today. Take a look at the Apple Website.

  9. Trick that no one is posting:
    Go into settings/general/touch ID. Place the finger on the scanner and the appropriate memory slot will light up briefly. Keep doing this repeatedly– it is learning the fingerprint more. Do the entire finger, tip, sides, whatever and it will further learn more accuracy in that finger scan.

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