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How to set up Touch ID fingerprint scanner

Lucy Hattersley | May 20, 2016
How to set up and use Touch ID features with your iPhone and iPad

Apple's iPhone and iPad can be unlocked using just your fingerprint. Here's how to set up the fingerprint scanner on an iPhone and how to use Touch ID.

The list of compatible devices that can be unlocked by Touch ID are the following: iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6+, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S+, iPhone SE, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3, iPad Mini 4, iPad Pro and iPad Pro 9.7.

The iPhone 5s was the first device that debuted the fingerprint scanner as a feature. Since then many other devices have incorporated the feature, allowing you to replace a passcode to unlock your device.

As you touch the Home Button the Touch ID sensor reads your fingerprint and unlocks your iPhone. No more sliding to unlock, and no more entering four digit passcodes (in certain situations you will still need to use a passcode, read on to find out). Touch ID aims to make the iPhone more secure and easier to use at the same time.

How to use Touch ID on iPhone 5s

What is Touch ID and how does Touch ID work?

The Touch ID technology found in the certain iPhones and iPads, combines an integrated image scanner with the Home Button. Although it's not quite a camera, it does scan an image of your finger or thumb.

"The technology within Touch ID is some of the most advanced hardware and software we've put in any device." says Apple, "To fit within the Home button, the Touch ID sensor is only 170 microns thin, not much thicker than a human hair. This high-resolution 500 ppi sensor can read extremely fine details of your fingerprint. The button itself is made from sapphire crystal - one of the clearest, hardest materials available. This protects the sensor and acts as a lens to precisely focus it on your finger."

The result of all this technology is a Home Button that is capable of reading your finger in any orientation, and uses that degree of image recognition to unlock your phone.

How to set up Touch ID on iPhone and iPad

Touch ID is automatically configured during the iOS Setup Assistant process, but you will still need to enter a four-digit passcode. Touch ID will reduce the number of times you are required to input this passcode, but it will be requested for additional security validation when enrolling new fingerprints and it's useful if a friend needs to unlock the phone for you.

The passcode is also useful because it ensures you will be able to unlock the phone in the event that your fingerprint is not recognised. Make sure you pick a passcode you can remember, but nothing that'll be easily guessed, such as '1234'.


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