08/12/2021

IOS KingMan

IOS KingMan

7 ways to troubleshoot if Face ID isn't working on your iPhone or iPad

  • If Face ID doesn’t appear to be working on your Apple device, start by making sure it’s enabled in Settings for any features you want it to unlock.
  • You can create a second appearance in Face ID so it has an easier time recognizing you.
  • Ensure the camera isn’t blocked, but if your face is blocked (with a mask, for example), you might need to unlock your device with a different technique. 
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

For many people, Face ID is nothing short of a revelation — it lets you log into your iPhone, various apps and services, and even make safe and secure purchases without any effort beyond looking at your phone. Of course, Face ID isn’t without its shortcomings, and it can occasionally fail to work properly, failing to unlock whatever you were trying to access. Thankfully, it’s also easy to troubleshoot.

What to do if Face ID isn’t working on your iPhone or iPad

As long as you have an iPhone or iPad with Face ID — that’s any model iPhone X or later, as well as an iPad Pro 11-inch, iPad Pro 11-inch 2nd generation, iPad Pro 12.9-inch 3rd generation or iPad Pro 12.9-inch 4th generation — you should generally expect Face ID to unlock your device or software when you look at it. If it doesn’t work as expected, try fixing Face ID using these troubleshooting tips.

Make sure Face ID is turned on

If Face ID doesn’t seem to work, your problem might be an easy fix; either it was never enabled, or Face ID was recently disabled for the app or feature you’re trying to unlock. Here’s how to check:

1. Start the Settings app and then tap Face ID & Passcode.

2. Enter your passcode if prompted. 

3. Make sure that Face ID is turned on for the feature you’re trying to unlock. In addition to the iPhone’s unlock screen, you can also use Face ID on iTunes, the App Store, Apple Pay, Password AutoFill and any third-party apps that support Face ID.

Turn on all the features where you want to use Face ID.
Dave Johnson

Set up an alternate appearance

Most of the time, and for most users, Face ID can adapt to your appearance if it changes over time. For example, it’ll be able to handle changing hair length and if you sometimes wear glasses. If your appearance changes radically on occasion, though, you might need to assist Face ID by setting up an alternate appearance. 

1. Start the Settings app and then tap Face ID & Passcode.

2. Enter your passcode if prompted. 

3. Tap Set Up an Alternate Appearance

4. Follow the instructions to let Face ID learn your face and save it as a secondary appearance.

Make sure your Face ID camera isn’t blocked

Face ID makes use of a camera system Apple calls TrueDepth. It’s actually composed of several components including a dot projector that illuminates your face with more than 30,000 tiny infrared dots as well as an infrared camera that detects those dots. 

The iPhone camera notch.
Apple; Insider

Because those components are spread out across the camera notch on the iPhone and iPad, the entire notch needs to have a clear and undisturbed view of your face. Make sure that the notch is clean and not covered or blocked by a case or any other sort of obstacle. In particular, if you’re holding your iPad in landscape mode, make sure your hand isn’t blocking the camera. 

Don’t cover your face and look at the camera

In the same way that it’s important not to block the Face ID’s camera, you should make sure nothing is covering your face when you need Face ID to work. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Face ID generally works whether or not you’re wearing glasses. There are certain kinds of sunglasses that can interfere with Face ID, so if you find it doesn’t work with glasses on, try taking the glasses off and using Face ID again.
  • Your eyes, nose, and mouth need to be unobstructed in order for Face ID to work. Obviously, this means that wearing a mask can keep Face ID from working, though there are tricks that can get Face ID to work for some people even with a mask. 
  • If you regularly wear a mask which interferes with Face ID, Apple now lets you unlock your iPhone with Face ID if you have an Apple Watch. 

Make sure your iOS device is up to date 

If Face ID is enabled but doesn’t seem to work properly, you might need to update your device. Make sure your iPhone is running the latest version of iOS or, if you have an iPad, ensure it’s updated to the latest version of iPadOS.  

Restart your device to reboot Face ID and other software

Sometimes a device just needs to be rebooted — turning a device off and then back on again can easily resolve seemingly difficult software problems. If you’ve tried most of the troubleshooting tips in this article and so far had little success, shut the device off, wait one to two minutes, and then turn it back on again. As a reminder, here’s how to turn off an iPhone and here is how to turn off an iPad.   

Reset Face ID

As a last resort, you can completely reset Face ID and set it up a second time. This isn’t as onerous as it sounds, because it only takes a few moments to configure Face ID. Do this:

1. Start the Settings app and then tap Face ID & Passcode.

2. Enter your passcode if prompted. 

3. Tap Reset Face ID

4. Follow the instructions to set up Face ID a second time. 

If you follow each of these troubleshooting steps and Face ID still does not work properly for you, you may have a hardware problem with your device that requires servicing. You should reach out to Apple Support.