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How to configure and troubleshoot Touch ID and Face ID

In the past five years, Apple has changed the way its devices are unlocked by introducing two biometric authentication technologies that, in addition to being fascinating, are also very efficient.

In 2013, Ma introduced the primacy Touch ID with the iPhone 5s one of the biggest advances in iPhone hardware so far. In 2017, she went further and announced, with the iPhone X, the Face ID technology that marked the biggest evolution in gadget Apple's flagship since its launch, more than a decade ago.

These authentication methods today go beyond simply unlocking devices; they allow the user to make purchases at the iTunes / App / iBooks Store, authenticate transactions with Apple Pay and fill in passwords for websites saved by Safari and other services.

Although extremely intuitive and easy to set up, it may be that some iPhone, iPad or MacBook Pro owners with Touch Bar face problems when using Touch / Face ID. So here is the definitive tutorial on how to set up and solve possible problems with them. Ready?

How to set up Touch ID on iPhone and iPad

Before configuring Touch ID, iOS requires that you configure a custom code (alphanumeric or just numeric). Although it is possible to use the iPhone only with the personalized code, it is not allowed to configure the device only with the Touch ID. The alphanumeric code is still the main authentication and the most suitable for making your device practically impenetrable. We've already given you some tips on how to create a good code.

Code created? Then follow the steps below to configure the Touch ID:

  1. Access Touch ID and Code settings.
  2. Insert your access code (the one you just defined) and make sure that the Home button and your finger are clean and dry. Then, tap ?Add Digital Printout?.
  3. Without pressing the Start button, touch it with the finger you want to record and hold that position until you feel a quick vibration or until iPhone asks you to lift your finger. Do not change your finger between the scans and repeat this action until the representation of your fingerprint on the screen is filled.

    Touch ID settings on iPhone 7

  4. After registering the central part of the finger, the next screen will ask you to adjust the position of the finger to capture the edges of your fingerprint.
  5. Focus on recording the sides of your finger until the representation of your fingerprint on the screen is filled.
  6. At the end of the process, tap on ?Done?. If you want, touch the name of the form ("Finger 1") to rename it (such as "Right Thumb", for example).

    Touch ID and Code on iOS 11

IOS allows adding up to five different fingerprints on the same device; to add them or configure the Touch ID settings, simply access Touch ID and Code settings and repeat the steps above. It is also possible to disable the Touch ID authentication options for the iTunes / App / iBooks Store and delete fingerprints; to do so, just tap on the printout you want to delete and then ?Delete Digital?.

On iOS 10 and later, you need to press the Start button using the Touch ID to unlock the device. To unlock the device using the Touch ID without having to press the Start button, access General Settings Accessibility Home Button and activate the option ?Keep your finger to open?.

How to set up Touch ID on MacBook Pro

Use Touch ID on MacBook Pro to quickly unlock your Mac and make purchases using your Apple ID and Apple Pay with your fingerprint. Available on the 15-inch MacBook Pro (2016 or later) and the 13-inch MacBook Pro (with four Thunderbolt 3 ports, 2016 or later), the Touch ID is located to the right of the Touch Bar, at the top of the keyboard (no button on / off the Mac).

To configure it, follow the steps below:

  1. In the menu bar (Apple logo) or in the Dock, click on ?System Preferences?.
  2. Click on "Touch ID" and select the "Add fingerprint" option. Then, enter the user account password when prompted.

    Touch ID on MacBook Pro

  3. Place your finger on the Touch ID button without pressing and hold it there until you are prompted to lift it.
  4. Repeat the scan with minor adjustments to the finger position until the MacBook Pro completes reading your printout.

After setting up the Touch ID, you can use it to unlock your Mac. However, you need to enter the password to log in to the user account every time you log in, restart, or log out with your Apple ID (that story that your password is the most important layer of security, regardless of whether or not the Touch ID is configured).

If two or more users have set up their respective fingerprints on Touch ID and log on to the same Mac, they can use Touch ID to switch between accounts. Simply press the Touch ID to change the user account to the associated fingerprint account saved on the MacBook Pro.

How to set up Face ID on iPhone X

Responsible for performing the same actions as Touch ID, Apple's new biometric authentication method, Face ID, uses TrueDepth camera technology to map tens of thousands of points on your face to authenticate purchases, start sessions at apps and more.

Face ID on iPhone X

As with Touch ID, it is necessary to define an access code before proceeding with the configuration of Face ID. Once this is done, follow the instructions below:

  1. Access Face ID and Code Settings.
  2. Insert the iPhone access code and make sure that there is nothing obstructing the front camera of the device.
  3. Tap "Set up Face ID", position your face in front of the device and tap "Start".
  4. Place your face inside the circle and move your head to close it. If you are unable to move your head, see other forms of mapping in ?Accessibility Options?.

    GIF Facial mapping on iPhone X

  5. When the first mapping is complete, the screen displays the second part of the process, tap "Continue".
  6. Gently move the head to close the circle a second time and tap ?OK? when the mapping is complete.

Like Touch ID, Face ID allows you to authenticate purchases, either in the iTunes / App / iBooks Store or with Apple Pay. However, the iPhone X has an extra layer of security to prevent accidental purchases from being made after all, if you were just looking at the screen, many people would buy things completely unnecessarily. Therefore, to confirm a purchase with Face ID, I need to double-press the side button on the iPhone and then look at the screen of the device for authentication to take place.

Problems with Touch ID and Face ID?

Like any technology, Touch ID and Face ID are not perfect. Apple says that from one technology to another, the false-positive rate jumped from 1 in 50,000 (in the second generation of Touch ID) to 1 in 1,000,000 (in Face ID). However, if you are that one, see some ways to solve possible problems.

No Touch ID

  • The fingers must be clean and dry. Moisture, creams, sweat, oils, cuts and dry skin can affect fingerprint recognition. According to Apple, some activities can also temporarily affect fingerprint recognition, such as doing physical exercise, bathing, swimming or cooking.
  • During the process, make sure that your finger occupies the entire surface to be scanned during the first stage and then that all edges of the fingerprint are scanned during the second stage.
  • If the scanning process is successfully completed but the fingerprint is hardly recognized by the iPhone or iPad, delete the fingerprint and restart the process, paying attention to the steps above.

No Face ID

  • Make sure there is nothing obstructing the iPhone X's front camera system, any badly positioned film or cover can interfere with the mapping and authentication process.
  • Make sure your device is up to date and also that Face ID is configured for the features you are trying to use. To do this, access the Face ID and Code Settings.
  • Face ID works only when iPhone X is standing upright, and with you facing the TrueDepth camera. Regardless of whether you hold the iPhone X in a natural position or whether the device is on a surface, place it at an arm's length or closer (25 to 30 cm) from your face.
  • If it is not possible to register your face, try to reset the Face ID and configure it again by going to Code and Face ID Settings Reset Face ID. Then, tap on ?Configure Face ID? to perform a new mapping.

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Did everything go well during setup? We hope so! Check out other tips on iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS in our tutorial section and learn how to use various features of your gadget the right way.