Is Your iPhone Face ID not working? Here is how to fix it

It’s no surprise that you can unlock your iPhone, use Apple Pay, or sign in to an account just by staring into your phone’s camera. Face ID, that little new technology, is quite amazing. That is when it functions.

Remember inputting a four-digit passcode on those plastic buttons to open your Nokia (3310)? Those phones are now practically in museums, but you can rest assured that they are still functional — unlike Face ID on your iPhone, which has a terrible habit of not working when you need it. You can still unlock your iPhone without a Face ID, but you’ll have to key in your passcode or draw your pattern every time.

If you want to get your Face ID to work again, the first step is to figure out what caused your Face ID to stop working in the first place. This article shows you why your iPhone is probably not working and how to fix the face ID not working problem on iPhone.

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How to Fix ID not working problem on iPhone

Check Your Face ID Settings

If your iPhone’s Face ID isn’t set up correctly – or if it doesn’t have the feature at all – it won’t operate. Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode and, if required, enter your passcode to check your Face ID settings.

How to set up Face ID on iPhone

If this option isn’t available, your iPhone doesn’t have a Face ID. Face ID is only available on any iPhone later than the iPhone X series. So, if you are using any iPhone released before 2017, it does not come with a Face ID feature. Here is a list of iPhones that actually have this feature;

  • iPhone 12 series (iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max).
  • iPhone 11 Series (iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max).
  • iPhone X series (iPhone X, XR, XS, XS Max).
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch

If face ID is not already set up, that is, you see face ID written in blue, you’ve discovered the issue: either you never set up Face ID in the first place, or someone deleted your face—Select Set Up Face ID to get started.

If you already have Face ID enabled, go to the top options under Use Face ID For: and ensure that the toggle for iPhone Unlock, or anything else you wish to use it for, is turned on.

Is Anything Covering Your Face or the Camera?

Face mask blocking iPhone face ID

In this covid-19 period, we wear face masks almost all the time when we are out, which is not helpful for Face ID. If you have a cover or screen protector on your iPhone, they may be interfering with the TrueDepth Face ID cameras. Face masks aren’t the only thing that can trick your iPhone into thinking it’s gazing at a stranger. When other things are close to your face or phone, the Face ID on your iPhone can become confused.

Although you are using the iPhone 12 series phone, the Face ID should probably work even when you have a face mask on. But iPhone released before the iPhone 12 series will not work correctly when you have your face mask on.

If you’re wearing glasses, a hat, a mask, or any other sort of face or head covering, take them off and try Face ID again. Also, any cover or screen protector on your iPhone may be interfering with the TrueDepth Face ID cameras, so remove them if you have them.

How to Use Face ID When You’re Wearing a Mask

In light of the current pandemic, there are a few things you may attempt to make using Face ID with a maskless of a burden.

Face ID can be trained to recognize you with a mask on, according to researchers at Tencent’s Xuanwu Lab. Face ID can learn and adjust to natural changes in your face, just like it can learn and adjust to your face. How? While “wearing” half of a mask, set up your iPhone’s biometric system. Thanks to the gadgetgone for sharing this method, they gave it a shot. They discovered that although redoing merely the initial Face ID setup yielded mixed results, setting up an Alternate Appearance, in the same way, yielded more consistent results. Here’s how to get started:

  • Go to Face ID & Passcode > Settings > Face ID & Passcode.
  • Select Reset Face ID from the drop-down menu.
  • Select Set Up Face ID from the drop-down menu.
  • Bring your mask up to your face, folding it in half and covering only one side. (For further information, see the image below.)
  • If a Face Obstructed message appears, slowly shift the mask to the side of your face until the message disappears. To complete the circular request, carefully move your head around. (To avoid an error, make sure you only cover the tip of your nose.)
  • Perform two full scans of your face, always keeping the mask on the same side of your face.
  • Now that Face ID is enabled, try unlocking your iPhone with Face ID while wearing the mask as usual.
  • If Face ID is still not working, proceed to steps 8-12.
  • Return to Settings > Face ID & Passcode to set up an Alternate Appearance.
  • Choose Set Up Alternate Appearance from the drop-down menu.
  • Fold your mask in half once more. Use it to cover the other side of your face this time.
  • Perform two more Face ID scans in the same manner as before, but this time on the opposite side of your face.
  • When you’re done, replace your mask and try unlocking your iPhone again.

Hopefully, with and without a face mask, this will get your Face ID up and running. If you’re still experiencing trouble, pull your mask down your nose slightly. We tried it and had a lot of success, so hopefully, you will as well.

Is your iPhone running the latest iOS version?

Face ID not working can sometimes be resolved by simply updating your iPhone to the latest iOS version. To check for and install any available updates, navigate to Settings > General > Software Update.

Attempt a Hard Reset.

If your iPhone is already running the latest iOS, try a hard reset, often known as a force restart. To do so, press and hold the Volume Up button for a few seconds, then press and hold the Volume Down button for a few seconds.

Then, on the right side of your phone, hit and hold the Side button. Continue to hold the button down (avoid the Power Off slider!) Release the Side button once the Apple logo displays, then wait for your iPhone to restart.

Maybe it’s because of your appearance.

Our faces change throughout time, whether we like it or not. However, thanks to the folks at Apple, your iPhone will generally learn and adjust. On the other hand, your iPhone might not identify you if your face has changed dramatically in a short period of time.

Even if nothing has changed, you should try resetting your Face ID data completely next. Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode, then Reset Face ID to make it happen.

Restore Your iPhone to Factory Settings

If nothing else has worked, a factory reset is your last resort for restoring Face ID functionality. Although this will most certainly take several hours, it could save you from having to buy a new iPhone, paying for an expensive repair, or having to enter your passcode until your next upgrade (imagine the agony this will cause your poor texting fingers!).

Before you do a factory reset, make sure you remember your Apple ID and password, as well as your device and/or Restrictions passcode, because you’ll need them. It would be best if you also backed up your iPhone to don’t lose all of your data.

Go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings to start restoring your iPhone to factory settings. You’ll be prompted to refresh your iCloud backup before wiping anything if you haven’t already backed up your iPhone as we instructed. Back-Up should be selected. Then select Erase (or Erase Now if you prefer to live on the edge and have already backed up your iPhone). Finally, use your passcode to verify your identity before selecting Erase iPhone.

Is Your iPhone Still Not Working? It is most likely damaged.

If you’ve tried everything and your Face ID still doesn’t work, or you see notifications like Face ID Is Not Available or Unable to activate Face ID on this iPhone, it’s time to call it quits. These notifications indicate that the Face ID is malfunctioning due to a hardware issue.

Face ID can stop functioning for various reasons, including being dropped or having the screen repaired by someone who damaged the Face ID components in the process. As a result, you’ll either need to have it repaired or purchase a new iPhone.

Because the Face ID cameras are attached to your motherboard for security and must be programmed by Apple, you cannot have this repair performed by any 3rd-party repair shops.

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Victor Smith
Victor loves talking about Tech and he reviews a lot of gadget. His Reviews are based on his use of this gadgets and his opinions about them.


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