Face ID Not Working or Not Available on Your iPhone? Here Are 13 Solutions to Fix It

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Face ID makes it quick and effortless to unlock your iPhone, authenticate downloads, make purchases, and more. When Face ID is not available or not working, these solutions will help you fix it.

So, if you cannot set up your iPhone Face ID, it has stopped working randomly, or it doesn't recognize your face correctly, just follow the troubleshooting tips below to get it working again. These solutions apply to all iPhone models with Face ID, including the iPhone 13, 12, 11, XR, XS, and X.

1. Check the Face ID Settings

Before going to the fixes, it's always good to start with basic checks. Here's how to make sure Face ID is set up and its settings are correct:

  1. Go to iPhone Settings > Face ID & Passcode.
  2. If you see Reset Face ID, that means you have already set up Face ID. Otherwise, follow the prompts to set it up now.
  3. Ensure the options for iPhone Unlock, iTunes & App Store, Wallet & Apple Pay, and Password AutoFill are enabled.
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2. Check Face ID Permission for Third-Party Apps

Third-party banking, payment, instant messaging, and other such apps might use Face ID for authentication to log in. If you denied the app permission to use Face ID in the past, you will need to enter your iPhone passcode each time instead.

Here's how to ensure Face ID is enabled for a supported third-party iPhone app:

  1. Open Settings and scroll down to the bottom, where third-party apps are listed.
  2. Tap the concerned app.
  3. Make sure the toggle for Face ID is on.
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Alternatively, you can see the complete list of apps that have requested Face ID access by going to Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Other Apps.

3. Clean the Face ID Sensors and Ensure There Are No Obstructions

When your iPhone's face recognition isn't working, use a soft and dry cloth to wipe the top part of the device to ensure the Face ID sensor is clean. Usually, when you hold the phone on the ear for too long, body oils and dirt may stick to it, causing Face ID to fail or perform poorly.

Secondly, if you are using any rugged case or thick screen protector that is covering the Face ID sensors even slightly, consider removing such obstructions.

Related: How to Clean Your Dirty iPhone: A Step-by-Step Guide

4. Make Sure You're Not Blocking Your Face

Face ID won't work if you're wearing a face mask, veil, or any other piece of clothing, and even some specific sunglasses. For the smooth working of Face ID, make sure you don't block your face with anything. At places where you must wear a mask or veil, entering the iPhone passcode manually is the only option, unless you have an Apple Watch.

Related: How to Unlock Your iPhone With an Apple Watch While Wearing a Mask

Plus, when you're in a crowded bus or stadium, Face ID may get confused due to numerous faces around you. In these situations, try to hold the iPhone properly so that the system can precisely scan your face.

5. Hold Your iPhone Correctly

On an iPhone, Face ID only works when you hold it in portrait orientation. On an iPad, it works in both portrait and landscape modes.

So, Face ID won't work when you are in bed and try to unlock the phone while it's in landscape mode. Make sure you hold it correctly.

Additionally, don't hold the iPhone too far away or too close to you. Hold it at a comfortable distance from your face.

6. Restart Your iPhone

One of the most basic yet effective ways to fix Face ID issues is to restart your iPhone. Restarting involves two steps. The first is to turn off your iPhone, and the second is to turn it back on after a minute. Once you do this, the Face ID components that stopped working should work perfectly now.

7. Update Your iPhone

Apple fixes known bugs and issues via software updates. If the Face ID setup is not working or repeatedly fails to unlock your device, the problem may be at the deeper software level. To fix this, update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS.

8. Set Up an Alternate Appearance

You can set up an alternate appearance that may help Face ID perform better if you're wearing glasses, have facial hair, or have changed your appearance in another way. Here's how to do that:

  1. Open iPhone Settings and tap Face ID & Passcode. Authenticate using the device passcode.
  2. Tap Set Up an Alternate Appearance and complete the process to add an additional appearance.

9. Reset Face ID and Set It Up Again

When Face ID is not working, or its setup fails while adding an alternate appearance, resetting it will help. Doing this will remove the currently enrolled face, and you will have to set it up again.

To reset Face ID on your iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Reset Face ID.
  2. Restart your iPhone.
  3. Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode and complete the setup process again.
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10. Reset All Settings

When you reset all iPhone settings, personal data like photos, videos, apps, music, and such are not removed. However, all the settings you have ever changed or added, like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Home Screen layout, VPN, and Keyboard settings, are erased and set back to the default.

When your iPhone's Face ID is not working, or if Face ID suddenly stopped working, resetting all device settings might help.

Go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset > Reset All Settings. Once the process completes, set up Face ID again; it should work perfectly now.

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11. Factory Reset Your iPhone

In case none of the above solutions bring any luck, consider factory resetting your iPhone. This will erase everything, including apps, settings, and all other data, from your iPhone. So make sure you back up your iPhone first.

Related: How to Back Up Your iPhone or iPad

Once the reset completes, you can set up your iPhone as a new device or restore it from a computer or iCloud backup.

12. Make Sure Your Repairs Are Carried Out by Apple

Did you recently get your iPhone screen replaced? Or, did you get it repaired for some hardware problem at an unauthorized service center? If yes, Face ID will most likely not work on this iPhone until you get it fixed at an Apple Store, or one that's authorized by Apple.

13. Contact Apple Support

If you recently dropped your iPhone on a hard surface, there may have been physical issues with the Face ID sensors. Due to this, it may be unavailable, crash on the setup screen, or not work at all.

All iPhones with Face ID (iPhone X and later) are waterproof to an extent. However, Face ID may not work if the iPhone was underwater for a very long time.

If your situation fits either of the above instances, consider contacting Apple Support and schedule a store visit.

Your iPhone's Face ID Should Be Working Perfectly Now

If the Face ID issue wasn't related to hardware, the above solutions should have fixed this problem. Once it starts working, the iPhone experience gets better and much more convenient.

Overall, Face ID is highly secure and offers a great, convenient experience. And if you follow a few reasonable measures, you can take things to an even more secure level.

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