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What to do if your iPhone 5s fingerprint sensor isn't working

Ashleigh Allsopp | Nov. 18, 2013
How to fix Touch ID fingerprint sensor on iPhone 5s

Apple's iPhone 5s boasts a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, which allows you to ditch your passcode in favour of your fingerprint. However, as with most technology, sometimes things can go wrong. Here, we take you through the troubleshooting steps so you know what to do if your fingerprint sensor isn't working.

If you've already set up the fingerprint sensor and it's been working, then the chances are there's something you can do about it if it goes wrong.

However, if it doesn't work from the moment you get your iPhone out of the box, you may want book a Genius appointment at the Apple Store to get them to take a look at it. It's possible that it's faulty and you'll need a replacement.

How to fix iPhone 5s fingerprint sensor: clean it
To begin with, you could try cleaning the Touch ID sensor. It takes a high resolution picture of the sub-epidermal layers of your skin to read your fingerprint and compare it to the fingerpring it has on file, so if there's dirt on the Home button, the likelihood is your iPhone 5s will have difficulty confirming that you really are who you say you are.

You can clean the Home button with a lint-free cloth (like the kind you use to clean glasses).

To find out more about how the Touch ID fingerprint scanner works, visit our Inside the iPhone 5s Touch ID scanner article.

How to fix iPhone 5s fingerprint sensor: update your iPhone
If this doesn't help, it's worth checking that your iPhone is up to date. To check, go to Settings > General > Software Update.

Apple uses minor iOS 7 updates to fix bugs and make improvements to the software, to the fingerprint sensor technology could be part of those improvements. The lated iOS update is iOS 7.0.4.

How to position your finger correctly on iPhone 5s Touch ID
Apple advises that users should cover the Home button completely when using the fingerprint sensor. You should also make sure not to tap too quickly or press down too hard, and should keep your finger still while it's being scanned (this should only take a second or two).

Once you've got the hang of it it'll become second nature. (It did for us).

If you've done all these things and it's still not working, there are some more things you can try.

How to enable Touch ID iPhone Unlock

The first is to go to Settings > General > Touch ID & Passcode > Touch ID and make sure that iPhone Unlock is enabled (it'll be green if it is). If you want to use your fingerprint to make purchases in iTunes and the App Store, you can enable iTunes & App Store here too.


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