10 Fixes For iPhone Face ID Not Working

The front camera, or what we call the selfie camera, has grown to be an obsession for us, and it is no wonder that tech giants such as Apple have incorporated a face lock or unlock feature that uses the front camera.

All we have to do is look at the selfie camera, and the phone will unlock. This is extremely helpful to authenticate purchases. 

It is a unique and fun innovation that protects our accounts and is simple and easy to use.

iPhone face ID

Apple currently offers its Face ID feature in the following models of iPhone and iPad:

iPhone 12 mini, 12, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max

iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max

iPhone X, XR, XS, XS Max

iPad Pro – 11″ and 12.9″ (2018)

Fixes for Face ID Not Working

However, sometimes while using face ID, it might run into trouble and stop working. 

It may sound silly, however, you should try to restart your iPhone before trying any of the below fixes. Power off your iPhone and wait for 30 seconds. Now, continuously press and hold the power button until the Apple logo appears.

If the Face ID, does not work problem persists, here are some quick fixes for you to get the Face ID working on your iPhone.

  1. Turn on the features essential to Face ID
  2. Use your iPhone in portrait orientation
  3. Keep the iPhone at an optimal distance
  4. Check if something blocks the TrueDepth camera
  5. Ensure that your face is not covered
  6. Set up an alternate appearance
  7. Check for the software updates
  8. Check Your Sunglasses
  9. Turn off Attention Aware Feature
  10. Reset Face ID

1. Turn on the features essential to Face ID

It might be possible that you must have turned off some of the essential features such as App Store, Apple Pay, and iTunes settings inside the Face ID settings.

These features are essential for Face ID to work correctly, and here’s how you can turn it back on.

Step 1. Go to Settings -> Face ID & Passcode option.

Step 2. Ensure that the toggle for iPhone Unlock, Password AutoFill, iTunes & App Store, and Apple Pay is enabled in Face ID settings.

2. Use your iPhone in portrait orientation

In case you think that similarly to your iPad, you can use Face ID in landscape mode, then you might be wrong about it. This could be the reason why the Face Id not working.

If you have an iPhone 12 mini, 12, 12 Pro, or 12 Pro Max, ensure that your phone is in portrait mode when you use Face ID.

3. Keep the iPhone at an optimal distance

Just like our eyes need at least a few centimeters gaps to view the object clearly, our iPhone cameras also need to be kept at some distance so that our face is fully visible.

The maximum distance that you can use the Face ID feature is 10-20 inches after the phone will not detect your face.

You must ensure that your iPhone is at arm’s length when you try to unlock your phone. For best results, keep it at the same distance that you keep your phone when taking a selfie or attending a facetime call or video call.

4. Check if something blocks the TrueDepth camera

Sometimes the Face ID not working problem occurs when there is some dirt on the true depth camera or unclean due to fingerprints.

Also, if you have a screen protector like the rest of us to protect your precious iPhone, make sure that the screen protector doesn’t have the TrueDepth camera covered.

5. Make sure your face is not covered

If you have covered your face with a face mask or anything covering your mouth, nose, or eyes, you must remove that.

When you first had the Face ID setup, if you didn’t wear any face mask or sunglasses, you didn’t wear it while unlocking.

You can always set the Face ID while wearing a mask or wearing glasses and move your head slowly to save you the trouble of removing them each time you unlock it.

6. Set up an alternate appearance

You can try to set up an alternate appearance if your current facial appearance cannot unlock the Apple iPhone.

This alternate appearance must be different from the regular one so that the Face ID can differentiate.

Step 1. Go to the Settings app on your iPhone.

Step 2. Select the Face ID & Passcode settings.

Step 3. Enter the passcode if you are prompted for it.

Step 4. Tap the Set Up Alternate Appearance option.

Step 5. Look straight into the front iPhone camera and place your face inside the circle and follow along with the on-screen instructions.

Step 6. Press Done to set the Alternate appearance.

7. Check for Software updates.

Not having updated software might be the reason why the Face ID isn’t working. Sometimes some bugs tamper with the app’s functioning, and to fix those bugs; Apple constantly releases fixes.

You can adapt the below steps to check if there are any new OS updates.

Step 1. Go to the Settings app.

Step 2. Go to general -> tap the Software Update option.

Step 3. It will check for updates, and if any are available, press the Download and Install button to initiate the process.

8. Check Your Sunglasses

You may be using your Face ID while wearing sunglasses. Sometimes it might work, while other times, it doesn’t. Secret: infrared filters.

Many sunglasses have infrared filters that block the infrared light from passing through. However, iPhone cameras use infrared light to verify the user’s face for Face ID.

So, next time you wear sunglass or buy a new one, check if it has infrared filters. If the sunglasses do have infrared filters, you should remove them while you unlock your iPhone using Face ID.

9. Turn off Attention Aware Feature

Face ID is set up to intend that every time a user looks at their iPhone, they want to unlock it. However, if there have been too many failed attempts, you might consider turning off the attention-aware feature.

It might come in handy for obvious security reasons, but sometimes after too many failed attempts, the feature might cause a problem and not allow the Face to work correctly.

Step 1. Navigate to Settings -> Face ID & Passcode option.

Step 2. Scroll down until you find the Require Attention for Face ID option. Turn the toggle off.

Step 3. You will get a popup saying, “If you turn this off, Face ID will unlock your iPhone even if your eyes are not open and looking at the screen.” Press the OK button.

10. Reset Face ID

If none of the above fixes have been of any help, you can fix the Face ID error by resetting the Face ID and setting up a new one. Here’s how you can reset it.

Step 1. Open the Settings app.

Step 2. Navigate to Face ID & Passcode.

Step 3. In the popup, enter the passcode if prompted.

Step 4. Please scroll down to the Reset Face ID option and tap on it.

Step 5. Once the rest is complete, you can set up a new Apple ID by following the on-screen instructions the same way you did before.


We hope these fixes have been able to activate Face Id sensors and that now the Face ID works. 

If there is a problem with the iPhone’s biometric system or other hardware problems, or if you have performed too many unsuccessful attempts, we suggest you contact Apple support for fixing the face ID scan problem.

Meet the Author

Abdul Rahim has been working in Information Technology for over two decades. Learn how Abdul got his start as a Tech Blogger , and why he decided to start this Software blog. If you want to send Abdul a quick message, then visit his contact page here.