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iPhone 5s: Using Touch ID

With iPhone 5s, getting into your phone is faster and easier with Touch ID—a new fingerprint identity sensor. Learn how to set up and use Touch ID.

Touch ID is a seamless way to use your fingerprint as a passcode. With just a touch of the Home button of the iPhone 5s, the Touch ID sensor quickly reads your fingerprint and automatically unlocks your phone. You can even use it to authorize purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store. Touch ID is capable of 360-degree readability, which means no matter what its orientation, your iPhone reads your fingerprint and knows who you are.

Find more information on Touch ID security.

Setting up Touch ID

You can set up Touch ID in iOS Setup Assistant or by tapping Settings > Touch ID & Passcode. To set up Touch ID, you must first set a passcode. Touch ID is designed to minimize the input of your passcode, but you need a passcode for additional security validation, such as enrolling new fingerprints.

Use these steps to enroll your fingerprint:

  1. Make sure that the Home button and your finger are clean and dry.
  2. Hold the iPhone as you normally would when touching the Home button.
  3. Touch your finger to the Home button and hold it there until you feel a quick vibration or until you are asked to lift your finger.
    Place Your Finger screen
    Don't press the button, only touch it lightly.
  4. Continue to lift and rest your finger slowly, making small adjustments to the position of your finger each time.
  5. After the initial scan completes, you'll be asked to adjust your grip to capture the edges of your fingerprint.
  6. Hold the phone as you normally would when unlocking it and touch the adjacent outer areas of your fingertip, instead of the center portion you initially scanned.

Learn more:

  • If you have trouble enrolling one finger, try enrolling a different finger.
  • As you use Touch ID, it will continue to learn and improve recognition of your fingerprint.
  • Using Touch ID sets your Require Passcode setting to Immediately. You can still enter your passcode simply by sliding to unlock.
  • If you unintentionally slide and reach the passcode entry screen, you can still use Touch ID to unlock your iPhone (as long as there haven't been five unsuccessful attempts to recognize your finger).
  • Touch ID works only for fingers that you enrolled. You can enroll up to five fingers using Settings > Touch ID & Passcode.
  • With each additional finger that you enroll, it may take slightly longer for Touch ID to recognize your finger when you use it.

Using Touch ID instead of your passcode

You can use Touch ID to unlock your phone without having to enter your passcode every time. There are two ways you can unlock with Touch ID:

  • Press the Home button once to wake iPhone 5s and keep your finger lightly on the Home button.
  • Press the Sleep/Wake button once to wake iPhone 5s, and then touch your finger lightly on the Home button.

If Touch ID doesn't recognize your finger, you'll be asked to try again. After three attempts, you'll be given the option of entering your passcode. After two more tries, you will need to enter your passcode. In addition, you will need to enter your passcode to unlock your iPhone in these conditions:

  • After restarting your iPhone 5s
  • When more than 48 hours have elapsed from the last time you unlocked your iPhone 5s
  • To enter the Touch ID & Passcode setting

Using Touch ID for iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store purchases

You can also use Touch ID instead of entering your Apple ID password to purchase content from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store.

If you haven't already, make sure that iTunes & App Store is turned on in Settings > Touch ID & Passcode. If you can't turn on this setting, make sure that your Apple ID is signed in under Settings > iTunes & App Store.

Follow these steps to purchase content with Touch ID:

  1. Open the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBooks Store.
  2. Select an app, song, video, or book to purchase. Instead of the Apple ID password prompt, a Touch ID prompt is displayed.
  3. Lightly touch the Home button with a finger you've enrolled to purchase your content.
    Touch ID, enter password, or cancel

You will be asked to scan your fingerprint with each purchase.

If Touch ID doesn't recognize your finger, you'll be asked to try again. After five failed attempts, you'll be given the option to enter your Apple ID password. In addition, you will be required to enter your Apple ID password after restarting your iPhone 5s or enrolling or deleting fingers

Note: You can't use Touch ID for purchases if Require Password in Settings > General > Restrictions is set to Immediately.

Cleaning the Touch ID sensor

A clean Touch ID sensor can read your fingerprint more easily. As needed, use a clean, lint-free cloth to wipe off any dirt or debris from the Home button.

Managing Fingerprints and Settings

Go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode to change your settings:

  • Enable or disable Touch ID for Passcode or iTunes & App Store.
  • Enroll new fingerprints.

    Touch ID settings

  • Tap Edit to rename your existing fingerprints.
  • Swipe to delete a fingerprint.
  • If you have more than one fingerprint enrolled, you can touch a finger to the Home button to see the fingerprint it is linked to in the list. If your finger matches, that finger in the list will highlight briefly.

Resolving issues with Touch ID

  1. Make sure that you're using the latest version of iOS.
  2. Make sure that your fingers and the Home button are clean and dry.*
    Note: Cover the Home button completely. Don't tap too quickly, don't press down hard, and don't move your finger while Touch ID is scanning. Make sure that your finger touches the metal ring around the Home button.
  3. If you're using a protective case or screen protector, it must leave the Home button and the surrounding ring completely unobscured. If it doesn't, remove the case or screen protector and try again.
  4. Tap Settings > Touch ID & Passcode and verify that:
    • iPhone Unlock or iTunes & App Store is on.
    • You enrolled one or more fingerprints.
  5. Try enrolling a different finger.
  6. If you can't enroll any of your fingers, take your iPhone 5s to an Apple Retail Store, Apple Authorized Service Provider, or contact AppleCare for further assistance.

* Moisture, lotions, sweat, oils, cuts, or dry skin might affect fingerprint recognition. Certain activities can also temporarily affect fingerprint recognition, including exercising, showering, swimming, cooking, or other conditions or changes that affect your fingerprint.

Last Modified: Aug 26, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Aug 26, 2014
  • Article: HT5883
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