TouchID always-on?

Mohammad001

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 26, 2016
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I have the 15" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. While the TouchID works great, I have noticed that it isn't always-on as you know it from smartphones.

Whenever my phone's screen is turned off, I can always rest my finger on the finger-print sensor and it will unlock the phone immediately. On my MacBook Pro, I have to wake the screen myself from the touch pad or keyboard and then I am able to use TouchID.

I usually lock my computer when I'm away, but don't close the lid.

Any help is appreciated!
 

QzzB

macrumors regular
Mar 7, 2015
128
55
London
A computer being asleep is different to a Smartphone which is technically not asleep, just the screen is turned off (how it gets phone calls and messages and the battery will still deplete).

When the MacBook sleeps, it saves power, and doesn't do anything (except for Power Nap if enabled). Which is why you need to wake up the laptop before they keys/Touch ID is awake.

MacBooks are much more complex with the power and components, so they behave in totally different ways. As the Touch ID is actually the power button, have you tried pressing and holding finger on it, that might work?

Hopefully that makes sense?
 
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Mohammad001

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 26, 2016
26
3
Yes, it makes sense and thanks for answering. What doesn't make sense is that you'd assume they put a low-power chip to drive the TouchID, making it always-on. It is what it is.

I just tried clicking the TouchID button as you suggested, it doesn't really work. There is a delay from clicking the button to the screen actually turning on, so it would be just as fast (maybe even faster) to simply wake it from the touch pad.
 

QzzB

macrumors regular
Mar 7, 2015
128
55
London
The chip might be active, but the rest of the hardware won't be, thats the problem. The computer can't read the fingerprint until the OS is up and running. If TouchID is powered up, it needs to send a message to macOS to login, which is still asleep.

Unless the entire machine is in "low power mode" all of the time, there is no way to get the instant fingerprint that you get on the iOS device - and that would mean that your battery on the laptop is depleting as more power goes into a laptop than a mobile device. The components in a laptop are more power hungry than a phone, as its purpose is completely different.

I just close the screen rather than using a screen lock, instant power on when you open the lid and Touch ID works then.
 

Brookzy

macrumors 601
May 30, 2010
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UK
Confused... for me, just resting my finger on the Touch ID when the Pro is asleep with the screen open will unlock it. No pressing required.

How long are you waiting? Maybe once the deep sleep is active (I think after three or four hours) it disables Touch ID.
 

Mohammad001

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 26, 2016
26
3
QzzB, I guess I will have to get used to closing the lid.

Brookzy, if I use the TouchID immediately after locking the Macbook, it will unlock instantly. If I wait a few minutes, it will not work. Maybe there is a power setting somewhere for how long it takes for it to go into "deep sleep"? Do you mind trying it yourself, just lock the screen and wait a few minutes?
 

SDColorado

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Nov 6, 2011
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I am with Brookzy, I think. If I lock my Macbook and wait a few minutes (waiting 10 in this instance) and place my finger on the TouchID, it progresses through the login screen to unlocked. Same behavior from touching it immediately after lock as it is when I waited 10 mins. I will have to experiment with it more after it has been off for several hours.
 
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Mohammad001

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 26, 2016
26
3
I am with Brookzy, I think. If I lock my Macbook and wait a few minutes (waiting 10 in this instance) and place my finger on the TouchID, it progresses through the login screen to unlocked. Same behavior from touching it immediately after lock as it is when I waited 10 mins. I will have to experiment with it more after it has been off for several hours.
Not sure why mine won't work that way. I just tried again and waited for less that 10 minutes (maybe 3-4 minutes). Nothing happens if I place my finger on the TouchID or Touch Bar while the screen is black. My Power Nap setting was off, but turning it on didn't make a difference. I will conduct some experiments, see how long it takes for it to stop responding after locking it.

Please show me some of your Energy Saver settings. Is your MBP plugged in? Do you have the "Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off"-setting enabled?
 

SDColorado

macrumors 601
Nov 6, 2011
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Not sure why mine won't work that way. I just tried again and waited for less that 10 minutes (maybe 3-4 minutes). Nothing happens if I place my finger on the TouchID or Touch Bar while the screen is black. My Power Nap setting was off, but turning it on didn't make a difference. I will conduct some experiments, see how long it takes for it to stop responding after locking it.

Please show me some of your Energy Saver settings. Is your MBP plugged in? Do you have the "Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off"-setting enabled?

I just have the default settings, but I will have a look when I get home as to what they are.

You may want to try resetting your power saving preferences..

2. Open the Macintosh HD > Library > Preferences > SystemConfiguration folder.
3. Trash one or both of the following files depending on the Energy Saver preferences to be reset:

com.apple.PowerManagement.plist
com.apple.AutoWake.plist
 

Mohammad001

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 26, 2016
26
3
I just have the default settings, but I will have a look when I get home as to what they are.

You may want to try resetting your power saving preferences..

2. Open the Macintosh HD > Library > Preferences > SystemConfiguration folder.
3. Trash one or both of the following files depending on the Energy Saver preferences to be reset:

com.apple.PowerManagement.plist
com.apple.AutoWake.plist
Appreciate it. Were you connected to a plug when you tried earlier?

I will give it a try to delete the files, although I did try to click on the "Restore Defaults"-option under Energy Saver preferences.

Also, I just timed how long it takes for the TouchID to stop responding after locking the computer. Around 1 minutes and 15 seconds, before that it works just fine. So I imagine there is a energy saver setting somewhere that activates after 1 minute of inactivity. I am running on the battery at the moment.

As a sidenote, when the computer is locked and I move the touch pad, it generally takes 2-4 seconds to load the lock screen. Is this normal?
 

SDColorado

macrumors 601
Nov 6, 2011
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Appreciate it. Were you connected to a plug when you tried earlier?

I will give it a try to delete the files, although I did try to click on the "Restore Defaults"-option under Energy Saver preferences.

Also, I just timed how long it takes for the TouchID to stop responding after locking the computer. Around 1 minutes and 15 seconds, before that it works just fine. So I imagine there is a energy saver setting somewhere that activates after 1 minute of inactivity. I am running on the battery at the moment.

As a sidenote, when the computer is locked and I move the touch pad, it generally takes 2-4 seconds to load the lock screen. Is this normal?
Yes, where you not connected to the plug when you tried? I guess I am not clear on that, but I can try it either way for you.

When I touch the TouchID pad from when the computer is locked, it takes only a second or two to go through the lock screen to awake.

I don't know if it makes any difference as far as HOW you lock the computer. I dragged the Lock to the touch bar and placed it next to the Siri button and use that.
 

Richard Peters

macrumors regular
Jul 18, 2010
228
66
Surrey, UK
Whenever my phone's screen is turned off, I can always rest my finger on the finger-print sensor and it will unlock the phone immediately.
This doesn't work for me. If the screen is off on my phone and I rest my finger on the sensor, nothing happens. I have to either press the home button or lift the phone to turn the screen on before Touch ID kicks in?

With my 13" MPB, if the screen saver is on, I can rest my finger on Touch ID to login. If the screen itself is off, it's the same as my phone, I need to wake the screen before Touch ID registers.
 

Mohammad001

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 26, 2016
26
3
Yes, where you not connected to the plug when you tried? I guess I am not clear on that, but I can try it either way for you.

When I touch the TouchID pad from when the computer is locked, it takes only a second or two to go through the lock screen to awake.

I don't know if it makes any difference as far as HOW you lock the computer. I dragged the Lock to the touch bar and placed it next to the Siri button and use that.
I tried on battery and while plugged in, it is exactly the same. Around 1 minute and then the TouchID won't respond until I wake the device. I have added the Lock-icon to the Touch Bar as well, this is how I lock my computer.

I meant that waking the device by touching the mouse pad (touch pad) takes around 2-4 seconds. From there I can use the TouchID, which takes a a second or two to unlock.

Are you using the 15" or the 13"?

Also, I don't have the plist-files you asked me to delete. Any ideas as to why that is?


[doublepost=1487874893][/doublepost]
This doesn't work for me. If the screen is off on my phone and I rest my finger on the sensor, nothing happens. I have to either press the home button or lift the phone to turn the screen on before Touch ID kicks in?

With my 13" MPB, if the screen saver is on, I can rest my finger on Touch ID to login. If the screen itself is off, it's the same as my phone, I need to wake the screen before Touch ID registers.
I guess it is different from phone to phone. My finger-print sensor on my phone is not a button but a dedicated sensor on the back. Unlocks instantly every time I touch the sensor, no matter how long it has been asleep. Some manufacturers want people to look at the lock screen first, too. But that shouldn't apply to the MBP, since the lock screen doesn't provide any useful information, so it should simply unlock directly.

Have you tried to lock the screen and immediately lay your finger on the TouchID? See if it unlocks like mine do.
 
Last edited:

Richard Peters

macrumors regular
Jul 18, 2010
228
66
Surrey, UK
I guess it is different from phone to phone. My finger-print sensor on my phone is not a button but a dedicated sensor on the back. Unlocks instantly every time I touch the sensor, no matter how long it has been asleep. Some manufacturers want people to look at the lock screen first, too. But that shouldn't apply to the MBP, since the lock screen doesn't provide any useful information, so it should simply unlock directly.

Have you tried to lock the screen and immediately lay your finger on the TouchID? See if it unlocks like mine do.
Ah ha, I assumed iPhone. My mistake!

On the MBP screen though I just sent it to sleep via the Apple menu and you're right, the Touch ID unlocks it straight away then.
 

SDColorado

macrumors 601
Nov 6, 2011
4,295
4,257
Highlands Ranch, CO
I tried on battery and while plugged in, it is exactly the same. Around 1 minute and then the TouchID won't respond until I wake the device. I have added the Lock-icon to the Touch Bar as well, this is how I lock my computer.

I meant that waking the device by touching the mouse pad (touch pad) takes around 2-4 seconds. From there I can use the TouchID, which takes a a second or two to unlock.

OK. Locked the computer and waited a few minutes. Used the touch pad to wake the computer and using an unscientific One One thousand count, to time it, it took less than one second, before it woke up to the lock screen. From there the TouchID is almost instant.

Using only the TouchID button, the result was the same, less that 1 second to go wake up from lock and pass through the lock screen to my desktop.

Model is 15"
[doublepost=1487875748][/doublepost]These are my energy saver settings, as mentioned before, nothing but default stuff...



 

Mohammad001

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 26, 2016
26
3
Ah ha, I assumed iPhone. My mistake!

On the MBP screen though I just sent it to sleep via the Apple menu and you're right, the Touch ID unlocks it straight away then.
I just tried with the screen saver - my Touch Bar is always on while locking the device using the screen saver, so the TouchID of course works. I tried putting it to sleep from the Apple icon menu, it still won't respond after a minute or so. But you are saying that if you wait for a few minutes, you need to wake the device up before being able to use TouchID?

SDColorado, I have the exact same settings. I can't imagine this is a hardware issue, especially since it works just fine the first minute or so. Any idea on where I can look, maybe logs of some kind that shows which setting causes the system to sleep? Or maybe some diagnostic tools? Any help is welcome!
 

SDColorado

macrumors 601
Nov 6, 2011
4,295
4,257
Highlands Ranch, CO
SDColorado, I have the exact same settings. I can't imagine this is a hardware issue, especially since it works just fine the first minute or so. Any idea on where I can look, maybe logs of some kind that shows which setting causes the system to sleep? Or maybe some diagnostic tools? Any help is welcome!
I just realized that I neglected to mention something that may be a factor here. I am using Sierra Beta 10.12.4 Beta (16E163f).

As far as those logs, I believe they are viewable if you open Console and look under Reports, then /Library/Logs. I believe BioLogs show the TouchID logs and SleepWakeDebug the Sleep/Wake data. What I don't know is how to interpret all of what is shown.

As far as diagnostic tools, I also don't know, I am afraid.
 

Mohammad001

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 26, 2016
26
3
I just realized that I neglected to mention something that may be a factor here. I am using Sierra Beta 10.12.4 Beta (16E163f).

As far as those logs, I believe they are viewable if you open Console and look under Reports, then /Library/Logs. I believe BioLogs show the TouchID logs and SleepWakeDebug the Sleep/Wake data. What I don't know is how to interpret all of what is shown.

As far as diagnostic tools, I also don't know, I am afraid.
I am running the latest official release of MacOS, so that might be why. That being said, I believe Brookzy said that he can unlock it immediately as well..

Which version of MacOS are you running?
 

Mohammad001

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 26, 2016
26
3
I mostly just want to determine whether my unit or software is not acting how it should be. So are you guys experiencing similar behaviour with your TouchID, that you are not able to use the TouchID after the computer is locked for a few minutes (without closing the lid)?
 

SDColorado

macrumors 601
Nov 6, 2011
4,295
4,257
Highlands Ranch, CO
I mostly just want to determine whether my unit or software is not acting how it should be. So are you guys experiencing similar behaviour with your TouchID, that you are not able to use the TouchID after the computer is locked for a few minutes (without closing the lid)?
Do you have access to the beta to try it and see if you get the same behavior as I do? Mine wakes up instantly from lock, no need to ever close the screen. I put it on immediately, because I had grown so accustomed to having night shift come on a Sunset, that I found the normal blue/white screen color shocking at night. Night shift is my favorite feature of that build.

Edit: Otherwise do you have access to an Apple Store where they will allow you to experience the with the behavior of their floor models?
 

chabig

macrumors 604
Sep 6, 2002
6,775
3,987
I mostly just want to determine whether my unit or software is not acting how it should be. So are you guys experiencing similar behaviour with your TouchID, that you are not able to use the TouchID after the computer is locked for a few minutes (without closing the lid)?
I am running 10.12.3. All I have to do to unlock or wake my computer is place my finger on the touchID button. I don't press anything at all.
 
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