Face ID Not Working on iPhone 11, 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max: Possible Solutions to Fix the Issue


If Apple is to be believed, Face ID works 30% faster on the 2019 iPhones. While the improved speed might not be noticeable in day-to-day life, the biometric authentication has become more efficient and works at a range of distances.

That said, Face ID has had a fair share of issues ever since it was first introduced on iPhone X. And many of us have encountered situations where the biometric authentication seems to get stuck in a loop. So, just in case you have found yourself on the wrong side of the spectrum and are looking for some viable tips to fix “Face ID not working issue on iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max”, you have come to the right place.

If you have used modern iPhones like iPhone X Series, you might be familiar with many snags that seem to prevent Face ID from working perfectly. But if you upgraded from classic iPhones (with Touch ID button), it would be better if you could first get a good hang of how the facial recognition technology works.

So, we have divided this troubleshooting guide into two sections. While in the first one, we have talked about the things you should be aware of, in the second one; we have come up with a few solutions that have reliably fixed the “Face ID not working” problem not only on the latest iPhones but also on other devices like iPhone X Series and iPad Pro 2018. That all being said, let’s get going!

How to Fix Face ID Not Working Issue on iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max

Keep Some Pivotal Things in Mind

In The Following Scenarios, You Will Be Forced to Enter Your Passcode:

  • If your iPhone has just been restarted.
  • If you hadn’t unlocked your device for more than 48 hours.
  • If you hadn’t used a passcode to unlock the device in the last six and a half days.
  • If you hadn’t used Face ID to unlock the device in the last 4 hours.
  • If your iPhone has received a remote lock command.
  • After five failed attempts to match a face.
  • After invoking power off/Emergency SOS

Make Sure the Features You Are Trying to Use Face ID With Are Enabled

Another thing worth checking out upfront is to ensure that the features you are trying to use Face ID with are turned on inside the settings. For instance, if you have disabled iTunes & App Store toggle in the Face ID settings, you can’t authenticate your purchases using facial recognition.

Similarly, if the toggles for Apple Pay and Password AutoFill are turned off, you can’t authenticate your mobile payment nor will you be able to automatically fill passwords using Face ID. Therefore, be sure you have ideally set up the Face ID settings.

Ensure That Nothing Is Blocking the TrueDepth Camera

Yeah, it sounds a pretty basic thing, but it’s worth taking note of! Ensure that nothing is covering the TrueDepth camera. Make sure the screen protector or the case that you are using is not blocking the camera. Also, ensure that the area around the front camera is clean as dirt or residue might be preventing it from working properly.

Use Face ID Only in Portrait Orientation

Face ID works in any orientation on the 2018 iPad Pro. Unfortunately, this is not the case on the iPhone. Therefore, you must hold your device in portrait orientation while using Face ID.

One more thing worth reiterating is that you must keep your device at arm’s length or closer (10-20 inches) from your face as Face ID has a similar range of view as when you make a video call or snap a selfie on your device.

Be Sure Nothing is Covering Your Face

While using Face ID, ensure that nothing is covering your face. So, be sure to keep your mouth, eyes, nose fully visible to the front camera on your device.

Even though Face ID works with a variety of sunglasses, it might not support the ones that block certain types of light. If you are wearing such sunglasses, they might be blocking the infrared light that the TrueDepth camera uses.

If you take care of the above-mentioned dos and don’ts, Face ID will begin to work properly on your device. But if there is no solution as yet, move on to the second section.

Three Reliable Solutions to Get the Better of Face ID Issues

Try to Add an Alternate Appearance

The more you use Face ID, the better it gets. Moreover, you can also train the facial recognition technology to work faster. Just in case you have an appearance that is quite different from the regular one, better set up an alternate appearance so that Face ID can easily recognize you.

Step #1. To do it, open SettingsFace ID & Passcode. Now, enter your passcode.

Open Settings and Tap on Face ID and Passcode on iPhone 11 Pro Max

Step #2. Now, tap on Set Up an Alternate Appearance.

Tap on Set Up an Alternate Appearance in iOS Face ID Settings

Then, look straight into your device and make sure to place your face inside the frame. After that, gently move your head to complete the process. Be sure to tap on Done to finish in the end.

Add Second face to Face ID on iPhone 11 Pro Max

Reset Face ID

Haven’t yet got the better of the problem? No need to worry at all. Try resetting Face ID as it’s been a trusted troubleshooter. Open Settings → Face ID & Passcode → Reset Face ID. After that, tap on Set up Face ID and then follow the usual process to set it up again.

Reset Face ID on iPhone 11 Pro Max

Update Software On Your iPhone

If Face ID is still not working on your iPhone 11 Series devices, a bug could be at the heart of the issue. And the right way to get rid of it is by updating the software. So, give this solution a shot as well. Open the Settings app on your device → General → Software Update → Download and Install.

Tap on Settings then General then Software Update on iPhone

Side note: Make sure your iPhone has up to 50% power and is not connected to WiFi. Else, the option to download and install will be greyed out.

Wrapping Up…

I guess Face ID has started to work properly once again on your iPhone. But before you get on with the usual chores, let us know the trick that clicked for you. Also, mention the one that might be missing from this troubleshooting guide.

In case nothing has worked for you, be sure to take your device to an Apple Retail Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider sooner than later. Besides, you can also contact Apple Support for help.

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Apart from the pro-grade camera, what’s the one feature you have liked most in the iPhone 11 Series devices? We would be happy to know that in the comments. Be sure to download our iOS app as well as follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter so that you never miss our latest guides.