How To Make Touch ID More Reliable [iOS Tips]



Photo: Apple

If you’re one of the millions of people who went out and got themselves an iPhone 5s recently, you might notice that sometimes Touch ID doesn’t work on the first try. While most people haven’t had an issue with the new biometric fingerprint scanner, some have.

Luckily, there’s a pretty straightforward way to make it much more reliable.

According to TUAW, the trick here is to scan your fingerprint into Touch ID five times. The steps to scan your fingerprint are over at, and are as follows:

Use these steps to enroll your fingerprint:

  • Ensure that the Home button and your finger are clean and dry.
  • Hold the iPhone as you normally would when touching the Home button.
  • Touch your finger to the Home button and hold it there until you feel a quick vibration or until you are asked to lift your finger.
  • Tip: Don’t press the button, only touch it lightly.
  • Continue to touch and lift your finger slowly, making small adjustments to the position of your finger each time.
  • Once the initial scanning is complete, you’ll be asked to adjust your grip to capture the edges of your fingerprint.
  • Hold the phone as you normally would when unlocking it and touch the adjacent outer areas of your fingertip, instead of the center portion you initially scanned.

So, instead of doing this just once, go ahead and do this five separate times with the same finger. This will use up all available slots in Touch ID, but it’s good way to get some more solid reliability for your fingerprint unlock of your iPhone 5s.

Source: TUAW

  • norb

    Don’t forget, you can also add other fingers up to 5. I did my thumb and index finger of each hand and for the 5th I actually went back and forth between my left and right thumbs.

  • BeguiledAardvark

    Steve Gibson (@SGgrc) found an even more thorough method than this. Apparently you can train additional fingerprint mapping points via the Touch ID settings section. Follow these steps:

    Settings -> General -> Touch ID & Passcode -> Enter your passcode -> Touch ID

    Once here, put the finger you’re having trouble with onto the sensor. You will see one of the entries “darken” which indicates the phone recognizes the fingerprint (if you don’t see this either try placing your finger again or clean the glass.) However, this also indicates that the phone has learned an additional mapping point for your fingerprint. The beauty of all of this? You can continue to do this for your finger, working further and further outward from the original mapping to map more of your fingerprint.

    I tried it out and saw what appears to be it capturing new print data, and ever since I’ve had much better results utilizing Touch ID.

    As Steve pointed out, Apple must have struck a happy medium – not too much time asked of the user during initial setup, but enough to get a fairly accurate map. However, it’s worth your while to add more data!