Touch ID does not work with cold and/or dry hands?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Prof., Oct 10, 2013.

  1. Prof., Oct 10, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013

    Prof. macrumors 601


    Aug 17, 2007
    Let's get straight to the point.

    I have an iPhone 5S, and yesterday I was walking to class with a cold water bottle in my right hand and my books in my left hand, iPhone in my hoodie pocket. When I got to class and set everything down, I reached for my iPhone and placed my thumb on the home button to unlock it... "Try Again". I tried again and again and it never unlocked. It was then I noticed that my fingertips were cold from holding the water bottle during the 3 min walk to my class.

    Later after class - when my fingertips had warmed up, the phone unlocked after the first try. Later that night, I tried unlocking the iPhone with my left thumb - try again. Turns out, Touch ID doesn't like dry/cracked skin.

    Anyone else experiencing this?!

    This winter is going to be fun!
  2. mikeydeezy macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2010
    MN, USA
    Was there any condensation on your fingers at the time?
  3. verwon macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2011
    Yes, I've had it happen when my hands were very cold and after washing them/getting a shower.

    Though, anytime your skin may experience changes, it's to be expect that it's going to alter your fingerprints and it may not be able to read them. There is no way to make such technology work for any eventuality.
  4. Prof. thread starter macrumors 601


    Aug 17, 2007
    I'm sure my thumb was "wetter" than it should have been, though I did wipe them dry on my hoodie. :p
    I expected as much. I don't expect Touch ID to be 100% fail-proof when it comes to changes in your skin. It will be interesting to see what happens this winter. My skin cracks/bleeds due to my eczema during the winter. :(
  5. Carlanga macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009
  6. kodemunkey macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2012
    New Mexico, USA
    Hi Prof. I actually just got my new 5S yesterday and was really looking forward to using TouchID (primarily because I hate entering my password every time I download an app or access the iTunes store). Unfortunately, I have always suffered from really dry/chapped hands (especially as the weather gets colder). I was able to successfully get both my thumbprints recognized, but whenever I tried to use it I would end up having to enter my passcode. I'm inclined to think that this is because my fingerprints are a bit harder to read because of the dry hands, but I honestly can't say for sure. I'm with you though, if TouchID doesn't like dry/chapped hands, then it looks like I won't be able to use TouchID until spring at the earliest.

    Btw…for those that are going to ask "why don't you just use lotion?"; it's because I am a developer (and use touch devices quite a bit) and I really hate having my devices all greasy/oily because of the residue that most lotions leave on my hands. Not to mention, but since it is flu season again I'm always washing my hands so I don't get sick (have a 2 year old at home). If anybody has some good recommendations for non-greasy moisturizers I'm all ears.

  7. mbcoutinho macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2014
    I got thru this by getting my hand cold and addind a new fingerprint on the touch ID settings. (Now I got fingerprints there for both thumbs, warm and cold situations)

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