Touch ID inconsistently works on 5s

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by andrewj, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. andrewj, Sep 27, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013

    andrewj macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2008
    Anyone else having problems with Touch ID on their 5s being kind of flaky? It seems to work well after the initial set up, but the following morning, it seems to have already have some amnesia for fingerprint. At times, it takes several tries for it to recognize, but then I ended up erasing the fingerprint and starting from scratch.

    Anyone else have a similar experience?
  2. Lucille Carter macrumors 65816

    Jul 3, 2013
  3. Jman13 macrumors 68000

    Aug 7, 2011
    Columbus, OH
  4. Velin macrumors 65816


    Jul 23, 2008
    Hearst Castle
    Try saving the same print twice. Also, stop deleting it. The system learns to recognize your print better the more you use it.
  5. andrewj thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2008
    I deleted the print in order to force it to relearn it. I don't get the sense that that the more I use it, the better it gets at learning it. If anything else, I get the opposite experience, where the initial recognition is better (>90%), but 24 hours later, it's <<50%.

    Have you saved the same fingerprint multiple times?


    Also, another downside to Touch ID is that once activated, you need to use it (or enter a passcode) immediately, everytime you use the iPhone (whereas before, you could have it wait 5 min or more, etc. before needing to re-enter a passcode).
  6. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    Working fine here. Registered four fingers, all work seamlessly.

    If you continue to have problems, I'd recommend a tip to the Genius Bar. Yours isn't working how most (from posts here) seem to work.
  7. GlenK macrumors 6502a


    Aug 1, 2013
    St. Augustine, FL
    Mine is inconsistent as well. 5S was replaced yesterday and still does the same thing. Also had issues with Notification Center, jerky photo scrolls, and usage data not showing up.

    The replacement 5S still has all the same issues so hopefully an update will correct.

    On a positive note, this phone is fabulous and it's positives makes these issues not that important.
  8. billycuth macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2010
    Yes. I have been saying this since day one.

    One thing I noticed is that if I wash dishes and then later go to use it, it has trouble.

    Or, if I work outside and am rough on my hands and then wash up and use it, it has trouble.

    Oh well. It is still better than not using a passcode, and it is still the fastest way to get into the phone.
  9. bunnicula macrumors 68040


    Jul 23, 2008
    I've had Touch ID fail me just one time and it was immediately after washing my hands.

    I assume the print just did not want to read. I did come across an article that said Touch ID might be more challenging for people who are consistently rough on their fingers. Do you have more than one finger scanned?
  10. Robster3 macrumors 68000

    Dec 13, 2012
    Yes it's hit and miss, works for a while after set up but then becomes inconsistent. Water on hands seems to kill it.
  11. Jgraeff macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2013
    I have noticed this as well. When I first starting using touch ID It never failed now after about a week it fails 50% of the time.

    This whole learning thing I think makes it worse. I did another print when I first got the phone my left thumb and it works 100%
  12. Deako macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2010
    United Kingdom
    Works fine here. 1st time 95% of the time.

    Make sure when you set up your print you vary the angle of your thumb/finger, but also, dont angle too strong. Try and be natural, not overly unnatural in the way you present it to the sensor.
  13. highlightshadow macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2012
    Must have unlocked my phone a couple hundred times already and i think i can probably count on 1 hand the number of times it failed, i have 3 fingers on right hand (thumb, middle & index) and 2 on left (thumb and index)
  14. joshtheburrito macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2010
    I seem to be having the exact same problem. It seems to either be really slow to recognize my finger or sometimes not recognizing it at all. I'm kind of disappointed since that was the main reason i upgraded.:(
  15. phillytim macrumors 65816


    Aug 12, 2011
    Philadelphia, PA
    THIS. TouchID works great for me, and it certainly learns your finger(s) better with use!

  16. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    It's been estimated that about 5 - 10% of people have fingerprints that won't work well with any fingerprint reader.

    Unlike the "buy a case!" days of antenna-gate, some people are just going to have to accept that this may be a feature that will never work for them.

    Give it more time to make certain (and go play with the demo units in the store to see if they're the same), but eventually you may find that this just isn't a feature you can use.
  17. drew0020 macrumors 68000


    Nov 10, 2006
    Mine is inconsistent too. It probably works the first time 60-70% of the time. When it errors and says try again it usually errors out until I have to type my password. Then it will just work again! Very strange.
  18. andrewj thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2008
    I'm glad I'm not the only one with the same problem.
  19. iBighouse macrumors 6502a


    Mar 11, 2012
    Works every time for me. I can't say the same thing about my pass code lock on this phone or my older ones. I had like a 10% failure rate probably from punching keypads too fast and duplicating keys or just missing them a bit!

    So, Touch ID works more reliably for me than pass code ever did!
  20. andrewj thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2008
    Some additional thoughts. A part of me wonders how much of this is related to technique.

    Before, I've been hitting the home button, and after the thumb is off, then putting the thumb back on to unlock the phone.

    Now, I've tried hitting the home button, and letting the thumb rest there (but not continuing to push, otherwise Siri gets activated). This seems to work better.
  21. cambookpro macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2010
    United Kingdom
    We have biometric scanners for our canteen at school.

    Some people, however, have to be assigned a card as their fingerprints just never seem to be recognised. I'm sure there must be a certain %age of the population that that happens to.

    Not suggesting that your fingerprint is broken ( :p ), but just putting it out there.
  22. dspalton macrumors 6502a

    Jul 28, 2008
    Fleet, UK
    Is that so they can find out who ate all the pies?
  23. itjw macrumors 65816

    Dec 20, 2011
    What's surprising is not that a handful of people are having problems...

    Instead, it's amazing that for 99.9% of folks there is no issue at all. If you are in the last .01%, go to Apple or return it.

    Like most everyone else, mine is 99.5% accurate, and on the 2-3 times it's failed it's picked up the very next scan.

    Could just be a bad sensor. Replace it. If it still doesn't work, move on. The FBI has what it needs from you ;-)
  24. jettie1767 macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2003
    New Jersey, USA
    Usually problematic for me when I just washed my hands or I've been doing some heavy work with my hands outside.
  25. sclawis300 macrumors 65816

    Apr 22, 2010
    you pick up your miniature computer with wet hands?

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