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How to fix Apple iPhone 6s Touch ID that is not working properly, fails to identify fingerprint [Troubleshooting Guide]

Touch ID is an iOS security feature that is used to authenticate certain actions using fingerprints. Contemporary iOS devices from the iPhone 5s or later, including the iPhone 6s integrate a capacitive ring around the Touch ID sensor located in the Home button. This fingerprint identity sensor scans the input fingerprint image and grants an OK token when the image matches with any of the registered fingerprints on the device. You then can unlock your device, make purchases in iTunes, App Store, iBooks Store, and Apple Pay. But there are times when Touch ID sensor fails to work as intended as what some iPhone 6s users have claimed. Some said that it took so long for the Touch ID to recognize their fingerprints or worst, does not recognize at all.

What could have possibly caused the Touch ID to fail and what should be done in order to get it back up and working properly again? Read on to find out the answers to these questions.

But before we jump right into our troubleshooting, if you have other issues with your iPhone, make sure you drop by our troubleshooting page because we’ve already addressed a lot of issues reported by our readers. Find issues that are similar with yours and use the solutions we suggested. If they don’t work for you or if you need more help, fill up our iPhone problems questionnaire and give us more accurate information about your problem so we can give you the best solution.

Possible causes of Touch ID problems on your iPhone 6s

There could only be two possibilities here. Either the Touch ID sensor (Home button) or relevant component is damaged or a software malfunction. Physical or liquid damage on the iPhone is most likely to blame especially if there were previous instances of dropping or liquid exposure on the device. This can also be the case if the Touch ID fails to work after replacing the iPhone screen, Home button, or other relevant parts. Unfortunately, hardware-related issues with the iPhone 6s Touch ID would already require a technician’s aid in order to be rectified.

Meanwhile, if it happens so suddenly like everything was just working fine until you downloaded or installed something like apps or software update, you can say that it’s a software malfunction. Should this be the case on your end, you still have hope. Before you set a date for a tech visit and pay for service fee, consider the subsequent workarounds to try to troubleshoot and fix the problem on your end. Many of those who have encountered the same problem on their iPhone have found luck by giving these methods a try, so it wouldn’t hurt if you too will take your chances.

Potential solutions and workarounds to deal with Touch ID problems on your iPhone 6s

Highlighted below are generic solutions that can help you determine the underlying cause and obtain solution. Don’t forget to test your Touch ID sensor after completing each method to see if the problem is already fixed. Proceed to the next applicable solution if necessary.

First Method: Clean the Scanner

Dirt, dust, and oil can cause the scanner to become unresponsive or carry out delayed response. To rule this out from the possible causes, clea the Home button with a lint-free cloth. Note that the Touch ID sensor requires a high-resolution image of the sub-epidermal layers of your skin to read your fingerprint and compare it to the ones registered on file. So if there’s a dirt or grime on the Home button, it is possible that the scanner is having difficulty in authenticating the input image.

Second Method: Reboot your iPhone (Soft Reset)

If the Touch ID starts to show some problems after installing new apps or iOS update, you can consider it a software malfunction triggered by some bugs or the recently downloaded files are corrupted. To rectify these glitches, a soft reset might be able to help. Here’s how it’s properly done on your iPhone 6s:

  1. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake (Power) button until the Slide to Power Off appears.
  2. Drag the slider to completely power off your device.
  3. Wait for about 30 seconds.
  4. After the elapsed time, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button again until the Apple logo appears.

If your iPhone 6s is not responding or becomes stuck, you can do a force restart instead. Here’s how:

  1. Press and hold both the Home button and the Sleep/Wake (Power) button simultaneously for at least 10 seconds.
  2. Release both buttons when the Apple logo appears.

Both methods won’t affect any of your iPhone data thus both are safe methods to try on.

Third Method: Update iOS (if applicable)

If your iPhone Touch ID suddenly stopped working and you still haven’t installed the latest iOS update, then you should consider getting the update. Software updates not only offer new features but also contain bug fixes including those that are affecting the Touch ID sensor technology.

  • To check for available software update for your iPhone 6s, go to Settings-> General-> Software Update.

Follow the onscreen instructions to proceed with the iOS update download and installation. You can also update your iPhone through iTunes as you would prefer. Just secure a computer with the latest version of iTunes app installed, connect your iPhone to the computer using the supplied USB cable and follow the rest of the onscreen prompts to complete the update process.

After installing the update, reboot your iPhone (soft reset) and then try to position your finger on the Home button to check if the fingerprint sensor is now able to detect it. Be sure not to tap too quickly or press down too hard. Just place your finger in a way that it’s touching the capacitive metal ring and the Home button. Keep your finger still while it is being scanned.

Fourth Method: Delete and re-add your Touch ID fingerprints

If you’ve reached this far and still couldn’t get the Touch ID to work as intended, try to delete, set up Touch ID on your iPhone and then add your fingerprints again. You need to create a passcode for your device beforehand. Once you’re all set, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure that your finger and Home button are clean and dry.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap Touch ID & Passcode, then enter your passcode.
  4. Tao on Delete Fingerprint. Repeat this until all your fingerprints are deleted.
  5. Tap the option to Add a Fingerprint then follow the onscreen prompts to set up or add new fingerprints.
  6. Hold your device as you normally would when touch the Home button.
  7. Touch the Home button with your finger but do not press. When you feel a quick vibration or you’re asked to lift your finger, lift or remove your finger from the Home button.
  8. Continue to lift and rest your finger slowly and make small adjustments to the position of your finger each time.
  9. If prompted, adjust your grip. To do so, hold your device as you normally would when unlocking it and touch the Home button with the outer areas of your fingertip instead of the center portion that you scanned first.
  10. You can register up to five fingerprints. Each new print might make fingerprint recognition take slightly longer though. To rename a fingerprint, tap the fingerprint and then enter a new name.
  11. Reboot your iPhone after setting up the Touch ID and then see if it works.

In iOS 10, you will need to press the Home button using Touch ID to unlock your device.

  • If you want to unlock your device using Touch ID without pressing the Home button, head over to Settings-> General-> Accessibility-> Home Button-> and then enable Rest Finger to Open.

Another option you have instead of pressing the Home button is Raise to Wake.

  • To enable this option, go to Settings-> Display & Brightness-> then turn on Raise to Wake.

Choosing these options will let you unlock your iPhone without pressing the Home button.

Fifth Method: Restore your iPhone

If none of the aforementioned methods is able to fix your iPhone 6s Touch ID, you may consider performing a system restore this time. You can restore your iPhone 6s using iTunes but before you do, backup your device. Follow these steps to proceed with iTunes restore:

  1. Connect your iPhone to the computer using the supplied USB cable.
  2. Open iTunes on the computer. Make sure you are using the latest version of iTunes app.
  3. Wait until iTunes recognizes your iPhone.
  4. If prompted, tap the option to Trust this Computer on your device.
  5. Select your iPhone 6s from the list of available devices in iTunes.
  6. Select the option to Restore Backup in iTunes.
  7. Pick up the most relevant iOS backup to use. You can refer to the date and size of the backup file.
  8. Click the Restore button and wait for the restore time to finish.
  9. Keep your device connected to the computer after it reboots and then wait for it to sync with your computer. Once the sync is done, you can disconnect your iPhone.

Set up Touch ID again and then see if that will work this time.

Other Helpful Recommendations

  • Some iPhone users who have had trouble using the Touch ID sensor have obtained solution by removing the case or screen protector from their device. It turned out that the cutout on the case was too tight for the Home button. As a result, it blocking the part of your fingerprint. As much as possible use only the original casing or cover for your iPhone to prevent problems like this from happening.

Contact Apple Support or your carrier for further assistance and recommendations. It is highly recommended to escalate device problems including Touch ID failures especially when it started after installing an iOS update. Should this appear to be a common issue, Apple should work on a fix, in a form of new minor software updates. However if you suspect that a faulty hardware is causing this trouble, you can just take your iPhone straight to an Apple Genius bar and have it checked by a technician. Your best final option if nothing works would be to consider getting an upgrade to iPhone 8. Doing will not only to get rid of the Touch ID problem you’re dealing with, but also allows you to experience and make the most out of the next level of iOS technology.

Connect with us

If you have other problems with your iOS device including iPhone 6s, you may visit our Troubleshooting Page or complete and submit this form to get further assistance from our support team. Just be sure to provide us with all necessary information, such as your iOS device model, as well as more details about the issue you have with your device. For example, when did the problem start to occur or what you did before the problem shows. This way, it would be easier for us to determine the main cause(s) and help you towards finding the best possible solution available.

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