iPhone “Face ID Is Not Available”? Here’s The Real Fix (For iPads Too)!

Face ID isn’t working on your iPhone or iPad and you don’t know why. No matter what you do, you can’t unlock your device or set up Face ID for the first time. In this article, I’ll explain what to do when iPhone “Face ID Is Not Available”. These steps will help you fix Face ID on your iPad too!

face id is not available try setting up face id later

Restart Your iPhone

Restarting your iPhone or iPad is a quick fix for a minor software glitch that could be the reason why Face ID is not available. On iPhones, simultaneously press and hold the side button and either volume button until the “slide to power off” slider appears on the display.

turn off iphone x xs xr xs max

Swipe the circular, white and red power icon from left to right to shut down your iPhone X or newer. Press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears on the screen to turn your iPhone back on.

On iPads, press and hold the power button until “slide to power off” appears. Just like on an iPhone, swipe the white and red power icon from left to right to turn off your iPad. Wait a few moments, then press and hold the power button again to turn your iPad on again.

Make Sure Nothing Is Covering The Notch

If your iPhone’s or iPad’s TrueDepth camera is obstructed, Face ID won’t be able to recognize your face, so it won’t work. The TrueDepth camera is located in the notch on the iPhone X and newer models, and at the very top of your iPad when you hold it in Portrait orientation.

Remember to make sure the top of your iPhone or iPad is completely clean and clear, otherwise Face ID might not work properly! First, grab a microfiber cloth and wipe off the notch at the top of your iPhone’s display. Then, make sure your case isn’t obstructing the TrueDepth camera.

Make Sure Nothing Is Covering Your Face

Another common reason why Face ID might not be available is because something is covering your face. This happens to me quite often, especially when I’m wearing a hat and sunglasses.

Take off your hat, hood, sunglasses, or ski mask before trying to set up Face ID on your iPhone or iPad. If your face is clear and Face ID is not available, move onto the next step.

Hold Your iPhone Or iPad In Portrait Orientation

Face ID only works when you’re holding your iPhone or iPad in Portrait orientation. Portrait orientation means holding your iPhone or iPad vertically, rather than on its side. The TrueDepth camera will be at the top of the display when you’re holding your iPhone or iPad in Portrait Orientation.

Update To Latest Version Of iOS

iOS is the operating system that runs on your iPhone or iPad. iOS updates introduce new features and sometimes fix minor or major software problems.

Head to Settings -> General -> Software Update to see if a new version of iOS is available. Tap Download and Install if a software update is available.

update iphone to ios 13

Put Your iPhone Or iPad In DFU Mode

Our final software troubleshooting step when your iPad or iPhone says “Face ID Is Not Available” is to put it in DFU mode and restore. A DFU (device firmware update) restore is the deepest restore you can perform on an iPhone or iPad. It erases and reloads every line of code on your device, giving it a completely fresh start.

I recommend saving an iPhone or iPad backup before putting it in DFU mode. When you’re ready, check out our step-by-step DFU restore guide! If you’re troubleshooting your iPad, check out our video on how to put iPads in DFU mode.

iPhone & iPad Repair Options

You’ll probably have to take your iPhone or iPad into your nearest Apple Store if it still says “Face ID Is Not Available”. There could be a hardware problem with the TrueDepth Camera.

Don’t delay in setting up an appointment at your local Apple Store! Apple will swap your faulty iPhone or iPad with a brand new one, if you’re still within the return window. Apple also has a great mail-in program in case you can’t make it to a brick and mortar location.

Face ID: Available Again!

Face ID is available on your iPhone or iPad and now you can unlock your device just by looking at it! Next time “Face ID Is Not Available” on your iPhone or iPad, you’ll know how to fix the problem. Feel free to leave any other questions you have about Face ID down below in the comments section!

Thanks for reading,
David L.

About Author

I'm here to help you with your iPhone!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Charlotte Field
1 month ago

I did the turn off and turn back on thing but when it come back on it’s said that Face ID isn’t available on my iPhone X. My phone has just come back from a 4 month repair and I can’t uses Face ID. I don’t know to do because I have tried all of the things and I don’t really want to give my phone back up again to go get repaired after not having it for 4 months. Please can you help me.

2 months ago

my front lens was dirty – cleaned it and now it works

6 months ago

I used the 1st method and everything is working perfectly thank you so much for you help

Faez D
8 months ago

Got mine to work after I removed my screen protector. The sensors needs to have absolute crystal clear view . I realised my protector had an air gap underneath the front lens . Once removed , clean lens, power cycle the phone and try again . Maybe I just got lucky .

Li Stevens
11 months ago

Does a screen cover result in “Face ID is Not Available”? I’ve tried your suggestions… they have not worked. I have a clear screen cover…

Pauline Milner
11 months ago
Reply to  Li Stevens

My iPhones X is showing  “Face ID is Not Available”? I’ve tried your suggestions… they have not worked. I have a clear screen cover… it did use to work

1 year ago

This helped! Thanks so much!!!

1 year ago

Hi l’m buying a new iPhone x and the seller is telling me that it has no face id and that is a different version. Just want to ask is that true there is iPhone x without face id?

Liam Shotwell
1 year ago
Reply to  Manal

It’s possible that, if it’s used, the hardware for Face ID is damaged or defective, so Face ID may not be available.

Paul Kaliciak
1 year ago

My own personal update to this problem, on July 23, 2020: iOS 14, beta 3 *FIXES* this issue. Nothing on this page helped, and I was about to take the phone in for repair, but suddenly (with a developer account) when I updated to beta 3 today voila! it worked again no problem. Beta 3 should be available to the public in August, or you can wait for iOS 14’s official release (prob. in Sept) to get the fix.

1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Kaliciak

Exactly after I stal update I lost all camera and flash light?

Linda van Andel
1 year ago

Got a brand new iPhone yesterday, set up the Face ID and it worked perfectly until today, after my shower when I put my hair in a ponytail!!!
Tried to reset it but it didn’t work ?
is your advice the same for REsetting the Face ID?
My Face ID worked successfully for a day.?
(thought my problems would all be over with a new phone).

1 year ago

I did everything but it is still not working

Liam Shotwell
1 year ago
Reply to  Sabrina

If you tried all the steps in this article and Face ID is still not available, there might be something with your camera, sensors, or the chip that makes Face ID possible. You should consider having your phone looked at by a professional for repairs when you can to see if they can identify the problem.

Prashant Rastogi
1 year ago

I did everything but face id is not available yet

1 year ago

Thank You! Worked like a charm!

1 year ago

I have done all of this and still cannot set up my Face ID.

1 year ago

Sir I did as you said ..I off it and still it doesn’t work what should I do next ?

1 year ago
Reply to  Pelumi


Kamran Shahzad Khan
2 years ago

I restarted and it worked for me 🙂 Thanks

Renee Durfey
2 years ago

I just sent my iphone xs max to have a screen repaired. When I got it back today, I tried to set up the face id and it says not available, try again later. I have powered it off and followed every step of this article and it still does not work. It worked before I sent it off for repair. I do not have an apple store near me.

Brad Massey
1 year ago
Reply to  Renee Durfey

Did you find a fix for this? I’m having the same problem

1 year ago
Reply to  Renee Durfey

The same thing happened to me!

Charlotte Field
1 month ago
Reply to  Renee Durfey

Literally the exact same thing happens to me. When I went to go get it repaired they repaired it and now the Face ID doesn’t work.

Trip Thompson
7 days ago
Reply to  Renee Durfey

Yep. Same here. I’m not sure if this is the first time I’ve replaced the screen on a Face ID phone, but I don’t have a good feeling about this.

Luis CejaRamirez
2 years ago

I called AT&T called apple went thru all the trouble shooting steps & no one seemed to be able to help they said my only choice was to return the device. all I was getting was Face ID Not Available so I googled it & boom first thing on this article was turn off device for some reason although we did all the trouble shooting I never thought about shutting off the device once I turned it on it was working like a charm thank you!