Face ID makes it quick and effortless to unlock your iPhone, authenticate downloads, make purchases, and more. When Face ID isn’t available or working, these solutions will help you fix it.
So, if you can’t set up Face ID on your iPhone, if Face ID is not available, or if Face ID has stopped working randomly and doesn’t recognize your face anymore, just follow the troubleshooting tips below. These solutions apply to all iPhone models with Face ID, including everything from the iPhone X to the iPhone 13 and onwards.
1. Check the Face ID Settings
Before going to the fixes, it’s always good to start with basic checks. Here’s how to make sure Face ID is set up and its settings are correct:
- Go to iPhone Settings > Face ID & Passcode.
- If you see Reset Face ID, that means you have already set up Face ID. Otherwise, follow the prompts to set it up now.
- Ensure the options for iPhone Unlock, iTunes & App Store, Wallet & Apple Pay, and Password AutoFill are enabled.
2. Check Face ID Permission for Third-Party Apps
Third-party banking, payment, instant messaging, and other such apps might use Face ID for authentication to log in. If you denied an app permission to use Face ID in the past, you will need to enter your iPhone passcode each time instead.
Here’s how to ensure Face ID is enabled for a supported third-party iPhone app:
- Open Settings and scroll down to the bottom, where third-party apps are listed.
- Tap the concerned app.
- Make sure the toggle for Face ID is on.
Alternatively, you can see the complete list of apps that have requested Face ID access by going to Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Other Apps.
3. Clean the Face ID Sensors
Is Face ID not working at all on your iPhone? When that happens, use a soft, dry cloth to wipe the top part of the device to ensure the Face ID sensor is clean. Often, when you hold the phone on your ear for too long, body oils and dirt can stick to it, causing Face ID to stop working.
Secondly, if you are using a rugged case or thick screen protector that is covering the Face ID sensors even slightly, consider removing them.
4. Make Sure You’re Not Blocking Your Face
Depending on your iPhone model, Face ID may not work if you’re wearing a mask, veil, any other piece of clothing on your face. For the smooth operation of Face ID, make sure you don’t block your face with anything. At places where you must wear a mask or veil, entering the iPhone passcode manually may be your only option unless you have an Apple Watch.
5. Hold Your iPhone Correctly
On an iPhone running iOS 15 or earlier, Face ID only works when you hold it in portrait orientation. So, if Face ID isn’t working when you’re in bed, try to unlock the phone while it’s in portrait mode. Make sure you hold it correctly.
Additionally, don’t hold the iPhone too far away or too close to you. Hold it at a comfortable distance from your face.
6. Restart Your iPhone
One of the most basic yet effective ways to fix Face ID issues is to restart your iPhone. Restarting involves two steps. The first is to turn off your iPhone, and the second is to turn it back on after a minute.
Once you do this, the Face ID components that stopped working should work perfectly now. Though, you will need to enter your passcode again the first time you unlock your iPhone after doing this.
7. Update Your iPhone
Apple fixes known bugs and issues via software updates. If the Face ID setup isn’t working or repeatedly fails to unlock your device, the problem may be at the deeper software level. To fix this, update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS.
8. Set Up an Alternate Appearance
You can set up an alternate appearance that may help Face ID perform better if you’re wearing glasses, have facial hair, or have changed your appearance in another way. Here’s how to do that:
- Open iPhone Settings and tap Face ID & Passcode. Authenticate using your passcode.
- Tap Set Up an Alternate Appearance and follow the onscreen prompts.
9. Reset Face ID and Set It Up Again
When Face ID is not working or available, resetting it could help. Doing this will remove the saved face and you will have to set it up again.
To reset Face ID on your iPhone:
- Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Reset Face ID.
- Restart your iPhone.
- Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode and complete the setup process again.
10. Reset All Settings
When you reset all your iPhone settings, personal data like photos, videos, apps, music, and such are not removed. However, all the settings you have ever changed or added, like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Home Screen layout, VPN, and Keyboard settings, are erased and set back to the default.
When your iPhone’s Face ID feature isn’t working, resetting all your device settings might help. Go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset > Reset All Settings. Once the process completes, set up Face ID again, and it should work perfectly now.
11. Factory Reset Your iPhone
In case none of the above solutions help, consider factory resetting your iPhone. This will erase everything, including apps, photos, settings, and all other data from your iPhone. So make sure you back up your iPhone first. Once the reset completes, you can set up your iPhone as a new device or restore it from a computer or iCloud backup.
12. Make Sure Your Repairs Are Carried Out by Apple
Did you recently get your iPhone screen replaced? Or did you get it repaired for some hardware problem at an unauthorized service center? If so, Face ID will most likely not work on this iPhone until you get it fixed at an Apple Store or one that’s authorized by Apple. This is because official repairs need to authenticate the Face ID sensor in the screen with Apple’s servers.
If you recently dropped your iPhone on a hard surface, there may be physical issues with the Face ID sensors. Due to this, it may crash on the setup screen, be unavailable, or not work at all.
All iPhones with Face ID are waterproof to an extent. However, Face ID also may not work if your iPhone was underwater for a very long time.
If your situation fits either of the above instances, consider contacting Apple Support and scheduling a store visit.
Face ID on Your iPhone Should Be Working Perfectly Now
If your Face ID issue wasn’t related to hardware, one of the solutions above should have fixed it. Once Face ID starts working, your iPhone experience will get much more convenient.
Face ID is highly secure and offers a seamless experience. And if you follow a few reasonable measures, you can actually make it even more secure.
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