Touch ID doesn't like my fingers- suggestions?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Tubamajuba, Oct 10, 2014.

  1. Tubamajuba macrumors 68020

    Jun 8, 2011
    I've had my iPhone 6 (my first phone with Touch ID) for over two weeks now, and I absolutely love it. Touch ID, on the other hand, has been getting progressively worse.

    Over the past week or so, it has gone through phases where it will recognize my thumbs almost instantly, then a few hours later it won't recognize either of them no matter how many times I try. Hands washed, not washed, doesn't matter.

    I have a fingerprint stored for each thumb. During a period of consistent failure I attempted to add one more print for each thumb, thinking that it would help. No can do- it gives me an error message saying that it couldn't read my thumb.

    Why could this be happening? I know that Touch ID doesn't like excessively dry, greasy, or sweaty hands, but my hands are rarely any of those things because I wash them frequently. Maybe that's the issue? I know that attempting to use Touch ID right after washing your hands can lead to issues, but I experience problems even 10-20 minutes after washing my hands, touching nothing but my keyboard or phone.
  2. allthingsapple! macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2014
    Hmm that is weird!! The only time I have issues with mine (it was like this for my 5s and 6) is right after I wash my hands and haven't dullt dried them. Other than that it always recognized my finger. Maybe try holding your finger a little more firmly over the touchID sensor? Maybe you got a defective model? :/
  3. idyll macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    If you go into Settings -> Passcode you'll see the Finger number highlight that you're holding on the Touch ID sensor. Try doing variations of that finger, this should improve Touch ID
  4. Tubamajuba thread starter macrumors 68020

    Jun 8, 2011
    Just tried a little experiment- I wiped off my fingers and the sensor with a microfiber cloth, and then tried both thumbs. Worked perfectly. Wiped the sensor off again, then reluctantly rubbed my thumb on my nose. Even with the grease on my finger, it worked perfectly. I guess I just need to wipe the sensor more frequently? I've always wiped the screen with a microfiber cloth pretty regularly, but I never paid attention to the home button. Now that I have Touch ID, I guess I have to keep that clean too.

    Thanks for your advice though, I appreciate it!

    Just saw your post, and I did what you suggested. I've known about this for a while but I haven't checked that screen in a while. Sure enough, it wasn't recognizing either finger. I wiped the fingerprint sensor, tried it again, and it was registering both thumbs under Finger 1, which is my right thumb. I'm going to redo both prints, thanks for the tip!
  5. allthingsapple! macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2014
    You know what...I clean my screen so often subconsciously I didn't even think to recommend that! I'm glad you figured it out :) enjoy your new phone!
  6. Apple blogger macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2013
    Try Cleaning the home button and ring... And just once remove your prints, disable passcode and Touch ID, restart your phone.. Leave it for a minute, and start using Touch ID and passcode..
  7. Tubamajuba thread starter macrumors 68020

    Jun 8, 2011
    Yep, I did all that, and I'm having issues again. Wiping the sensor fixes it, but only for about three fingerprint reads- then I have to wipe it again. It used to be a lot more "robust" then this. I'll just see if it gets better over time, it's not the end of the world.
  8. greytmom macrumors 68040


    Jun 23, 2010
    Try using your pinky as your finger to ID with.
  9. Tubamajuba thread starter macrumors 68020

    Jun 8, 2011
    Good suggestion, but it won't read my pinky. It gets to almost the end of the process, then it tells me my fingerprint can't be read. I'll try other fingers too.
  10. TruckdriverSean macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2009
    Texas, US
    Ok, do you have a trusted friend/spouce with a Touch ID equipped iPhone? Get that person now.

    Start by watching how they use Touch ID on their phone. Pad placement, metal ring orientation, a area of finger they use/don't use. For the first couple of weeks using my 5s Touch ID was hit or miss for me. Years of using home buttons on iPhones had developed a lot of muscle memory that wasn't compatible with Touch ID use. Watch closely.

    After that, (if this is really a trusted person) let them scan in their fingerprint into your new iPhone. Watch how they do it during setup. Same points of interest. Area of pad used, interaction with metal ring, etc. This is very important. Bad setup scans will produce bad reads later. Touch ID first timers also tend to screw this up. I did.

    >>>> If it won't let your friend scan, or it fails for them after setup, respring, restore, re-see the Apple Store.>>>>>

    If it all went well, LEAVE their fingerprint in the phone, but give it a name label to delete it later but NOT NOW.

    Go ahead and re-scan one of your prints, using what you've learned. Do Not Delete your friends print yet!!!

    >>>> Fast forward 30 minutes, an hour, whatever. >>>>

    If Touch ID keeps working with much improved results, then after a day or two, delete your friend's print. Problem solved. #

    If it starts rejecting your print like before, get your friend to try.

    > Unlocks for your friend but not for you? Bad setup, bad scan, or skin/fingerprint issues. Try a different finger. After months, Touch ID still won't work for my mom, but my print (scanned into her phone about a month after she got it) still works every time.

    >> Won't work for your friend either? Respring, restore, re-see the Apple Store.
  11. ajm222 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2012
    having these same issue myself. very frustrating. seems to work for a little while and then nothing. actually what's most frustrating is seeing so many people say that theirs works perfectly all the time while mine is garbage. i keep cancelling genius appointments but maybe it's time to take it in. seems it should either work perfectly or not at all. and if it's not working at all, it's defective. one finger i scanned though seems to work fine if i hold it a certain way. well, 90% of the time. strange.
  12. Stacked macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2012
    If you're still in the 14 day return/exchange period then get it exchanged. I was having the same problem. It wouldn't work unless the sensor and my finger were spotless, otherwise it would just keep giving me the try again message over and over. The replacement phone I got works perfectly even with heavy grime on my finger/touch id.
  13. Apple blogger macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2013

    Umm try opening it with only 1 finger print most of the time even if u have registered many.. .. It will get better over time Yeah
  14. sillywabbit macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    I noticed I can't have wet hands.

    Also, don't press hard, just lightly resting on the sensor
  15. erzhik macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2010
    You gotta use sandpaper on those fingers. Read the manual.
  16. ARH1956 macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2007
    You can assign 5 finger prints but I primarily use my left thumb, and occasionally my right thumb or right first finger if two handing the phone, so 3 print ID's were used. I had an issue occasionally with it not reading my primary print, my left thumb. I simply used finger ID's 4 & 5 to rescan my left thumb in every configuration and angle imaginable. Now it never misses to ID it without having to wipe, clean or wash my thumb. I do wipe the face and button of my phone every evening with a microfiber cloth before charging.
  17. 53kyle macrumors 65816


    Mar 27, 2012
    Sebastopol, CA
    I have the EXACT same problem. The phone will randomly stop recognizing my fingerprints, but if I wipe it even slightly with a cloth it will magically work again...until the next time I try unlocking it.

    I had my mom, who also has a 6, attempt to set up a fingerprint (her phone unlocks with it perfectly fine), but it kept on failing. We eventually got it to set up with her fingerprint, but even with her, it had the same problem with actually unlocking the device.

    Now I know that it isn't an incompatibility with my finger, and there is probably something wrong with the device itself. It isn't an issue of the lens being dirty constantly as I have cleaned it thoroughly countless times (including before letting my mom attempt to use her fingerprint).
  18. frankdogg macrumors 6502


    Mar 24, 2011
    Mid-Wilshire LA
    Buy a thumb at the morgue. Scan thumb to Touch ID. Attach said thumb to keyring
  19. RobinInOR macrumors 6502a


    Sep 14, 2014
    Do you have normally cold hands? I find it doesn't register as well with a really cold finger, but if I rub it to warm it up it works.
  20. Sacha2304 macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2014
    Do you have excessively dry hands? I had to get fingerprinted for work clearance and the lady working there said fingerprint scanners hate dry fingers. They're harder to pick up.
  21. HolyGrail macrumors 6502


    Nov 21, 2010
    Planet Earth
    This reminds me of the time I bought a samsung tv that would turn on by touching on a certain lighted area. The crazy thing is, me touching it did nothing. Sister's finger, brother's finger, bam turns on. My finger nothing. :confused: Had to return the tv.

    Those lamps that you can touch the base and turn on......don't work for me ether.

    I'm still at a loss. Maybe, I'm immune to static electricity. :p
  22. daijholt macrumors 65816


    Jun 14, 2013
    Wales, UK
    You need new fingers.

    But in all seriousness, TouchID works flawlessly for me on both the 6 and 6 plus, so I'd bet you've got a faulty sensor. A visit to Apple is the best solution, they'll probably replace the handset for you.
  23. hipnetic macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    Do you wash your hands after you use the bathroom?
  24. Cyberstven macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2012
    I had a similar issue when I got my 5s on launch day. Touch ID worked perfectly, then it was super inconsistent. I found myself becoming obsessive over whether it would work or not. I finally tested my brothers phone and it worked 10 times better so I went in to exchange it.

    After getting the new phone I realized that my original 5s was truly defective. My advice is to not rule this out, especially if any of the below are not true:

    - I have sweaty hands around this time of the year for whatever reason. Sometimes this prevents the Touch ID from working properly. After having the 5s, I feel like I have a good idea if and when it won't work beforehand.

    - biting your nails can throw it off as it can mess with the skin that Touch ID relies on (not sure if it is from pulling skin, or moisture from mouth to nails (-:).

    -gunk on the Touch ID sensor. Sometimes crap can get stuck to the sensor. This happens if I eat sticky foods. You can shimmer your Touch ID sensor in the light to see if it is perfectly smooth. If it isn't, you can either scratch the crap off with your fingernail, or spray it with lense cleaner and wipe it aggressively with a cloth. Just be prepared to have Siri asking what's going on ;-).

    Hope this helps.

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25 October 10, 2014