Face ID Not Working On iPhone? Here’s The Fix!

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Face ID isn’t working on your iPhone and you don’t know why. You can still log in using your passcode, but if you’re like most people, the iPhone Face ID feature was one of the main selling points when you bought your iPhone, and it’s frustrating when it doesn’t work! In this article, I’ll explain why Face ID is not working on your iPhone and show you how to fix this problem for good.

Before we dive into the troubleshooting steps, it’s a good idea to double-check to make sure you’ve gone though the normal setup process. Read our article about how to set up Face ID on your iPhone for a step-by-step walkthrough. If you’re sure Face ID is set up correctly, follow the troubleshooting steps below to learn what to do when Face ID is not working on your iPhone.

What To Do When Face ID Is Not Working On iPhone: The Fix!

  1. Restart Your iPhone
  2. Make Sure You’re Holding Your iPhone Far Enough Away From Your Face
  3. Make Sure There Are No Other Faces Around You
  4. Remove Any Clothing Or Jewelry Covering Your Face
  5. Check Lighting Conditions
  6. Clean The Cameras & Sensors On The Front Of Your iPhone
  7. Take Off Your iPhone Case Or Screen Protector
  8. Delete Face ID And Set It Up Again
  9. Check For An iPhone Software Update
  10. Reset All Settings
  11. DFU Restore Your iPhone
  12. Repair Your iPhone

1. Restart Your iPhone

The first thing to do when iPhone Face ID is not working is restart your iPhone. This has the potentially to fix a small software glitch that could be causing the problem.

To restart your iPhone, press and hold the power button until “slider to power off” appears on the display. Then, using a finger, swipe the power icon from left to right to turn off your iPhone.

swipe power icon left to right on display

Wait about 15 seconds, then press and hold the power button again to turn your iPhone back on. You can release the power button when the Apple logo appears on the screen.

2. Make Sure You’re Holding Your iPhone Far Enough Away From Your Face

Face ID is designed to work when you hold your iPhone 10-20 inches away from your face. If you’re holding your iPhone to close or too far from your face, it could be the reason why Face ID is not working on your iPhone. As a general rule, extend your arms straight out in front of you when using Face ID.

3. Make Sure There Are No Other Faces Around You

If there are multiple faces in the line of the cameras and sensors on your iPhone when you’re trying to use Face ID, it may not work properly. If you’re in a busy place such as a city street, try to find a more private spot to use Face ID. If you’re trying to show off this cool feature to your friends, just make sure they aren’t standing right next to you!

4. Remove Any Clothing Or Jewelry Covering Your Face

If you’re wearing any clothing, such as a hat or scarf, or jewelry, such as a necklace or piercing, try taking them off before using iPhone Face ID. Clothing or jewelry could be covering parts of your face, making it more difficult for Face ID to recognize who you are.

5. Check Lighting Conditions

Another thing to be careful of when using Face ID is the lighting conditions around you. If it’s too light or too dark out, the cameras and sensors on your iPhone may have difficulty recognizing your face. Face ID will probably work best for you in a room that’s well-lit by natural light.

6. Clean The Cameras & Sensors On The Front Of Your iPhone

Next, try cleaning off the front iPhone. Gunk or debris could be covering one of the cameras or sensors used for Face ID. We recommend gently wiping the camera and sensors with a microfiber cloth.

wipe iPhone with microfiber cloth

7. Take Off Your iPhone Case Or Screen Protector

If you have a case or screen protector on your iPhone, take it off before using Face ID. Sometimes, a case or screen protector may cover or interfere with one of your iPhone’s cameras or sensors, causing Face ID to not work properly.

8. Delete Your Face ID And Set It Up Again

If Face ID consistently fails, try deleting your saved Face ID, then setting it up again. If something went wrong during the initial set-up process, you may have trouble using Face ID in the future.

To delete your iPhone Face ID, open the Settings app and tap Face ID & Passcode. After entering your passcode, tap on the Face ID you want to delete and tap Delete Face.

Now that the face has been deleted, go back to Face ID & Passcode and tap Enroll Face. Follow the instructions on the screen to set up the new iPhone Face ID. Enroll Face iPhone Settings

9. Check For An iPhone Software Update

Since Face ID is a new iPhone feature, there may be small bugs or glitches that could be fixed by a software update. To check for a software update, go to Settings -> General -> Software Update. If an update is available, tap Download & Install. If your iPhone is already up to date, it will say “Your software is up to date.” on this menu.

software update ios 11

10. Reset All Settings

If Face ID still isn’t working, try resetting all settings on your iPhone. When you reset all settings, all of the settings in your iPhone’s Settings app will be reset to factory defaults. This step can sometimes fix a troublesome software issue that may be difficult to track down.

To reset all settings, open the Settings app and tap General -> Reset -> Reset All Settings. Enter your passcode, then tap Reset All Settings when the confirmation pop-up appears on the screen. After the settings are reset, your iPhone will restart.

how to reset all settings ios 11

11. DFU Restore Your iPhone

A DFU restore is the deepest type of iPhone restore and a last-ditch effort to fix a persistent software problem. Before performing a DFU restore, we recommend saving a backup of your iPhone so you won’t lose your contacts, photos, and other data. Take a look at our article about how to DFU restore an iPhone to learn how to complete this step.

12. Repair Your iPhone

If you’ve made it this far and Face ID still won’t work, you may need to get your iPhone repaired. If you’re iPhone is still under warranty, we recommend bringing in your iPhone to your local Apple Store. Remember to make an appointment first!

If you’re iPhone isn’t covered by a warranty, we recommend Puls, an iPhone repair service that comes to you, whether you’re at home, work, or out for a coffee. A certified technician will be sent to meet you within an hour and fix your iPhone on the spot — and sometimes they’ll do it for cheaper than Apple!

Fresh-faced Face ID!

Face ID is working once again and you can finally unlock your iPhone with your smile. Now that you know what to do when Face ID is not working on your iPhone, make sure to share this article on social media before your friends and family turn blue in the face trying to fix the problem. We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below to know what you think about Face ID!

Thanks for reading,
David L. & David P.

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About Author

David Lynch

Hi, I'm David. I am a writer and editor. I enjoy creating content that helps readers learn information that will benefit them in their daily lives.