Face ID not working on iPhone? How to fix it

Face ID not working on iPhone

Face ID is usually a breeze to use and prevents other people from getting into your phone. You can even use it to lock Google Drive, WhatsApp, or other third-party apps. So it can be concerning if Face ID is not working on your iPhone.

Luckily, you can fix it with several different solutions. Let’s take a look at what you can do to troubleshoot the issue.

However, before we move on, please note that you may need to enter your passcode or Apple ID instead of using Face ID if:

  • You have just turned on or restarted your device
  • Your device has been locked for more than 48 hours
  • You have not used your passcode to unlock the device in the last 6.5 days and Face ID has not been used to unlock the device in the last 4 hours
  • Your device has been remotely locked
  • You have already had five unsuccessful attempts to unlock with Face ID
  • You initiated power off/Emergency SOS by pressing and holding the side button and either of the volume buttons together for 2 seconds

If none of the above are true and Face ID still isn’t working, keep reading for some reliable solutions.

iPhone models that support Face ID

  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X

How to fix Face ID not working on iPhone

Is anything covering the front camera?

Sure, it sounds like a pretty small thing, but it’s worth checking that nothing is covering the TrueDepth front camera on your iPhone. Make sure the screen protector or the case that you’re using isn’t blocking the lens. Also, ensure that the area around the front camera is clean as dirt or residue might be preventing it from working properly.

Further, remember that Face ID only works on iPhone in portrait orientation and not in landscape. So hold your phone upright. Also, keep your device about 10-20 inches from your face since Face ID has a similar range of view as when you make a video call or snap a selfie on your device.

Make sure your face is unobstructed

If Face ID is not working on your iPhone, make sure that nothing is covering your face. Keep your mouth, eyes, and nose fully visible to the front camera on your device. You can also set up an alternative appearance to use Face ID when wearing a mask.

Further, even though the face recognition technology works with a variety of sunglasses, it might not support those that block certain types of light. If you are wearing any such sunglasses, they might be blocking the infrared light used by the TrueDepth camera.

Turn Face ID off/on

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone → Tap Face ID & Passcode → Enter your iPhone Passcode.

    Tap on Settings then Face ID on iPhone X, Xs, Xs Max, or iPhone XR
  2. Under Use Face ID FOR section, turn off the switch next to each option.

    Turn Off Face ID on iPhone X, Xs, Xs Max, iPhone XR, or iPad Pro
  3. If you use Face ID with third-party apps, tap Other Apps → then turn off the switch next to each app.

    Turn Off Face ID for Third-party Apps on iPhone or iPad

Now, turn off your device. Next, head over to SettingsFace ID & Passcode and then turn on the switch next to each option. Also, tap Other Apps and then turn on the switch for each app.

Now, try using Face ID again—It should work now. If it doesn’t, move on to the next solution.

Reset Face ID on iPhone

Launch Settings → Tap Face ID & Passcode → Reset Face ID. This will wipe out all the existing mathematical representations of your face so you can reset them.

Reset Face ID on iPhone X, Xs, Xs Max, or iPhone XR

Follow the instructions on-screen to re-register your face on your iPhone. Once done, lock your phone and see if Face ID works.

Force restart your iPhone

This is also known as a ‘hard reset’ and can help fix your iPhone Face ID issues. Check out our guide for full instructions on force restarting your device.

Reset all settings on iPhone

If none of the above steps worked, you can try to reset all settings on your iPhone. This will wipe out all the existing settings including Wi-Fi passwords and website login details, but your media (photos, videos, etc.) and contacts will be unaffected.

  1. Open SettingsGeneralReset.

    Tap on Settings then General then Reset on iPhone
  2. Now, tap Reset All Settings and then enter your iPhone Passcode if you have set one and press Confirm.

    Reset All Settings on iPhone X, Xs, Xs Max, or iPhone XR

Update to the latest iOS version

Now is the time to check for a software update. Needless to say that it’s become the biggest troubleshooter in recent times. Moreover, Apple keeps refining iOS, improving performance, and eliminating the bugs that keep popping up now and again. So, it deserves a shot as well.

Open SettingsGeneralSoftware Update → Download and install the latest iOS version as usual.

Tap on Settings then General then Software Update on iPhone

So, now you know how to fix the Face ID feature not working on your iPhone. Let us know in the comments below which solution worked for you. If you have any further questions, we’ll do our best to answer them!

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