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

o Ashleigh Allsopp
16.11.2013 kl 08:04 | Macworld U.K.

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.

 

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.

iPhone 5s review

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 use Slo-Mo: take slow-motion videos on iPhone 5s

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.

How to fix iPhone 5s fingerprint sensor: add more fingerprints

Another thing you'll benefit from is the ability to add more fingerprints. You can add up to five fingerprints to the iPhone 5s, and then you'll be able to use any one of those fingers to unlock the device.

To add more fingerprints, go to Settings > General > Touch ID & Passcode > Touch ID. You can then add a new fingerprint by following the steps in our how to set up Touch ID article.

How to fix iPhone 5s fingerprint sensor: reregister a fingerprint

If there's a particular finger that's already registered but isn't working, you can reenrol it. Go to Settings > General > Touch ID & Passcode > Touch ID > Edit to delete a fingerprint and then follow the set up steps.

Make sure you've cleaned the Home button before you register a print.

Apple says that moisture, lotions, sweat, oils, cuts or dry skin can affect fingerprint recognition. It also advises that doing any of the following activates can affect your fingerprint, but we'd suggest only on rare occasions: exercising, showering, swimming or cooking.

If you've tried all of these things to no avail, then a trip to the Apple Store will probably be best for you. You can book an appointment with an Apple Genius by following this link.

See also:

Keywords: Hardware Systems  Consumer Electronics  
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