Face ID won't work on your iPhone and you don't know why. Face ID is Apple's new facial recognition software, which can be used to unlock your iPhone, make purchases, and more! This article will show you what to do when Face ID is not working on your iPhone so you can fix the problem for good.
Table Of Contents
Face ID Not Working On iPhone? The Real Solution.
- Restart Your iPhone
- Make Sure You're Holding Your iPhone The Right Distance From Your Face
- Clean Your iPhone's Cameras And Sensors
- Erase Your Saved Face ID & Set It Up Again
- Update iOS On Your iPhone
- Reset All Settings
- DFU Restore Your iPhone
- Repair Your iPhone With Apple
- Repair Your iPhone With Puls
- Check Your Surrounding Conditions
What To Do When Face ID Is Not Working
1. Restart Your iPhone
Why Should I Restart My iPhone?
Restarting your iPhone can sometimes fix minor software glitches and errors.
How Do I Restart My iPhone?
- Press and hold the power button (Sleep / Wake button) on your iPhone until the slide to power off slider appears on the display.
- Swipe the red power icon from left to right to turn off your iPhone.
- Wait about 30 seconds, then press and hold the power button again until you see the Apple logo appear in the center of the display.
If The Power Button Is Broken (Option 1)
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
- Tap General.
- Scroll to the bottom and tap Shut Down.
- Swipe the red power icon from left to right.
- Plug your iPhone into a power source using a Lightning cable to turn it back on.
If The Power Button Is Broken (Option 2)
- Watch our YouTube video or follow the steps below!
- Open the Settings app.
- Tap General.
- Tap Accessibility.
- Tap AssistiveTouch.
- Turn on the switch next to AssistiveTouch.
- Tap the AssistiveTouch button when it appears on the display.
- Tap Device.
- Tap More.
- Tap Restart.
- Tap Restart again when the confirmation alert appears.
2. Make Sure You're Holding Your iPhone The Right Distance From Your Face
Face ID is designed to work when you hold your iPhone about 10-20 inches away from your face. If Face ID is not working on your iPhone, you may be holding it too close or too far away from your face.
How Do I Make Sure You're Holding My iPhone The Right Distance From My Face?
- Hold your arms straight out in front of you to make sure it's far enough away from your face.
- You may need to close and reopen the Settings app if Face ID failed the first couple of times.
3. Clean Your iPhone's Cameras And Sensors
If Face ID is not working on your iPhone, there may be gunk or debris obstructing one of the cameras or sensors on your iPhone.
How Do I Clean My iPhone's Cameras And Sensors?
- Using a microfiber cloth, gently wipe the front of your iPhone.
- The cameras and sensors are located near the top of the iPhone.
- Microfiber cloths are the safest way to clean the front and back of your iPhone.
- You can get a great pack of microfiber cloths on Amazon for less than $10.
4. Erase Your Saved Face ID & Set It Up Again
Why Should I Erase My Saved Face ID & Set It Up Again?
If something went wrong the first time you set up Face ID on your iPhone, you may not be able to use facial recognition successfully. Think of this step like forgetting a Wi-Fi network your iPhone isn't connecting to.
How Do I Erase My Saved Face ID & Set It Up Again?
- Open the Settings app.
- Tap Face ID & Passcode.
- Enter your passcode if one is set up.
- Tap on the face you want to delete.
- Tap Delete Face.
- Once the face has been deleted, enroll a new face and try again.
- Check out this article to learn how to set up Face ID on your iPhone.
5. Update iOS On Your iPhone
Why Should I Update iOS On My iPhone?
If your iPhone is running an outdated version of iOS, you may run into problems that could be fixed simply by updating the most recent version of iOS.
How Do I Update iOS On My iPhone?
There are two ways to update iOS on your iPhone: in the Settings app and by using iTunes.
Update iOS In The Settings App
- Open up the Settings app.
- Tap General.
- Tap Software Update.
- If an update is available, tap Install Now.
Update iOS Using iTunes
- Connect your iPhone to a computer using a Lightning cable.
- Open iTunes.
- Click the Phone button in the upper left-hand corner of iTunes (see image 3).
- Click Check For Update.
- If an update is available, click Download and Install.
- If you plan on updating iOS in the Settings app, make sure your iPhone has over 50% of its battery life or is plugging into a power source.
6. Reset All Settings
Why Should I Reset All Settings?
Many iPhone problems are caused when Settings isn't set up correctly or by corruption within individual Settings app files. Restoring the Settings app back to factory defaults doesn't fix every iPhone software problem, but it is a go-to fix for Apple technicians because it does solve a lot of problems that would be very difficult to to track down by hand.
How Do I Reset All Settings?
- Go to the Home screen.
- Open the Settings app.
- Tap General.
- Use your finger to scroll down to Reset. It will be the last option in Settings -> General.
- Tap Reset All Settings.
- Enter your passcode.
- Tap Reset All Settings. You'll be prompted twice.
- A progress bar will appear on the screen.
- Your iPhone will automatically turn back on when the reset finishes.
7. DFU Restore Your iPhone
Why Should I DFU Restore My iPhone?
A DFU restore has the potential to fix software problems by completely erasing the code which may be causing your problem. The code is rewritten as if your iPhone is brand new, so the software problem may get solved.
Think of it like a house that has cracks in the foundation. Rather than try and fix the cracks, we are building an entirely new foundation.
How Do I DFU Restore My iPhone?
Watch our DFU restore video walkthrough on YouTube, or follow the steps below:
- Using a Lightning cable, plug your iPhone into a USB port on your computer.
- Open iTunes. It doesn’t matter if your iPhone is on or off.
- On an iPhone 7 or newer, press and hold the power and volume down button.
- After 8 seconds, release the Power Button, but continue to hold the volume down button
- Let go of the volume down button when iTunes says “iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode.”
- Your iPhone’s display will be completely black if you’ve successfully entered DFU mode. If it’s not, try again from the beginning.
- Restore your iPhone using iTunes.
- If you can, back up your iPhone before completing a DFU restore. Any time you do a restore, it erases everything from your iPhone. However, after the restore is completed, you restore all your backed up data back onto your iPhone.
- Learn more about DFU restores in our article: How To Put An iPhone Into DFU Mode, The Apple Way.
- A damaged component can prevent your iPhone from fully completing the DFU restore. If your iPhone is damaged in any way, a DFU may break your iPhone.
- In Apple jargon, the power button is also known as the Sleep / Wake Button.
8. Repair Your iPhone With Apple
Apple repairs iPhones at the Genius Bar in Apple Stores and through their online mail-in repair service. Apple repairs are high-quality, but out-of-warranty repairs can be much more expensive than third-party solutions. If you're looking to save some money you're not covered by Apple's warranty, you may want to check out our other recommendations.
How Do I Repair My iPhone With Apple?
How To Repair Your iPhone With Apple's Mail-In Service
- Visit Apple's support website to begin the online mail-in repair process.
- Alternatively, call 1-800-MY-APPLE (1-800-692-7753) to set up a repair.
How To Repair Your iPhone At The Genius Bar Inside Your Local Apple Store
- Visit Apple's website to make a Genius Bar appointment before you go into the store. Apple Stores are extremely busy, and if you don't have an appointment, you may have to wait for hours or end up being turned away. (Editor's note: I'm a former Apple tech and we're not exaggerating — please, do yourself a favor and make an appointment first!)
- When you arrive, go to the Genius Bar to check in for your appointment.
- Genius Bar appointments always include free diagnosis. If you're under warranty, many repairs can be done on the spot, but it all depends upon which parts are in stock. If you're not under warranty, the Genius will give you a quote for the cost of a repair.
- If you're not sure whether your iPhone is still under warranty, you can find out on Apple's website.
- Apple repairs are covered by a 90-day AppleCare warranty.
- If you've ever used a 3rd-party service to repair your iPhone, or if you've ever replaced a part of your iPhone with a non-Apple part, then the Apple Store may not repair your iPhone. (Shhhh!)
- In some cases, Apple will not repair devices that are older than five years old. These devices are classified as vintage or legacy.
9. Repair Your iPhone With Puls
Puls is a “we come to you” iPhone repair service that will meet you at your home, office, or Starbucks to repair your iPhone in as little as 30 minutes. Every Puls repair is backed by a lifetime warranty and their prices tend to be a lot less than Apple's.
Puls repairs broken iPhone screens, batteries, speakers, cameras, charging ports, and more. The only drawback at this point is that Puls isn't available everywhere (they're mostly in major US cities).
How Do I Repair My iPhone With Puls?
- Visit Puls.com.
- Select iPhone.
- Select the model of your iPhone.
- Enter your ZIP Code.
- Select the color of your iPhone.
- Select the repair you need completed and fill out any additional information you want the technician to know.
- Schedule a repair time and date.
- Enter your address and personal information.
- Click “have a coupon code?” right above Submit Repair Request.
- Enter the coupon code PF10ND18 to save at least $10 on your repair.
- Click the button that says “Submit Repair Request”.
- Every certified Puls technician has passed a background check, so you'll know they'll do a great job!
10. Check Your Surrounding Conditions
Why Should I Check My Surrounding Conditions?
Face ID may not work on your iPhone if it is too bright or too dark behind you. Face ID may also fail if there are other people in view of the cameras and sensors on the front of your iPhone.
How Do I Check My Surrounding Conditions?
- Make sure the sun is not directly behind you when trying to use Face ID. The sun's brightness can throw off your iPhone's sensors and cameras.
- Make sure you're in a well-lit area. Your iPhone may struggle to recognize your face if it's too dark.
- For consistent results, use Face ID in area that's well-lit by natural light.
For Other People:
- Make sure there are no people standing behind you when using Face ID.
- If you're in a busy area like a city, try to find a private place to use Face ID. People constantly walking behind you may throw off your iPhone's camera and sensors.
- It's okay to show off this feature to your friends, just make sure they aren't standing right next to you!
- The flash on the front camera of your iPhone may make it easier to use Face ID in a dark area.
iPhone Face ID: Fixed!
Face ID is working on your iPhone and now you can impress your friends with this awesome feature. Before the people you know go red in the face, make sure you share this article on social media so they know what to do if Face ID is not working on their iPhone! Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Face ID in the comments section below.