How to streamline your Touch ID setup

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iPhone
The iPhone is Time's most influential gadget of all time.
Photo: andri333 / Pixabay CC

If you’re setting up your new iPhone for the first time, one of your must-do steps will be setting up Touch ID. Apple’s biometric security system lets you map your own fingerprint to the Home button so nobody can unlock your device but you (or the bad person who has gained control of your thumb somehow, but that’s a bit grim).

When I set up my Touch ID the first time, I mapped the thumbs of both hands separately, and that was a good idea because I frankly have no idea which side my phone is going to be on when I want to get into it. And that’s served me well, but we’ve found an even more efficient way to do that same thing thanks to some sharp internet investigators.

Check out their findings in this video:

Daniel Pražák over at Czech site Letem Svetem Applem posted his site’s findings, which show that you can toss in extra fingers during the scanning process, and your phone will recognize either of them when you go to unlock. And while that may suggest that you can “trick” Touch ID, it does offer an interesting opportunity to make your setup quicker.

I tried it out by going to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode > Fingerprints and deleting my two existing thumbprints. And then I started the scanning process over by tapping “Add a Fingerprint ….” But this time, I alternated scans between my right and left thumbs.

It took a little forethought, however; the first time I tried, my phone didn’t consistently recognize both prints. So I started over and made sure that I got very clear and deliberate scans of the exact areas on each digit that I would put on the Home button when I went to wake up my phone.

After one more try, I had a single scan that included both prints. Since I’d already set up Touch ID before I started this experiment, I had no real reason to do it. But if you just scored a new iPhone 6s or SE and are setting up your security for the first time, this quick little trick can save you a little bit of time.