Face ID Not Working? Here’s How to Fix It

If you have an iPhone or iPad with Facial recognition and use Face ID to unlock your device, access apps, and pay for stuff, you’re part of an elite crowd of people who have embraced Face ID and jumped into modern technology feet first. But what should you do if your Face ID is not working or your Face ID is not available? Continue reading for fixes for when your Face ID is disabled that will make your iPhone recognize your face again. We'll also cover the reasons why your Face ID may not be working.

Related: How to Set Up Face ID (Facial Recognition) on Your iPhone, Use It to Unlock Apps & Make Purchases

Face ID Not Available? Try a Hard Reboot First

A hard reboot is usually the first tactic to use in making any electronic gadget behave again. The old “turn it off and turn it on again” instruction has deep roots in the technical community for a good reason.

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How to Hard Reset the iPhone 6s & Earlier:

  1. Press and hold your Sleep/Wake button and Home button simultaneously for at least 10 seconds
  2. Once the Apple logo appears on your screen, release the buttons and wait for your iPhone to restart.

How to Hard Reset the iPhone 7

  1. Simultaneously press and hold your Side Button and the Volume Up or Down button.
  2. Once the Apple logo appears on your screen, release the buttons and wait for your iPhone to restart.

How to Hard Reset the iPhone 8 & Later

  1. In quick succession, press and release the Volume Up button and Volume Down button.
  2. Press and hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears on the screen.
  3. Release the Side button and wait for your iPhone to restart.

Why is My Face ID Not Working?

Some owners have reported some issues after updating their iPhones to iOS 14. Before you try anything else, make sure you have installed the latest version of the software. Often bugs and other problems are fixed very soon after a significant update, so make sure you’re up to date.

Is Face ID Disabled for All My Functions?

If Face ID is still not working after making sure your iPhone is completely updated, you should double check that Face ID is actually enabled for the functions you want to use it for.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Face ID & Passcode.

    iphone settings appface id and passcode settings
  3. Enter your passcode.
  4. Make sure that your Face ID is set up and that you have enabled all the functions that you want to use your face ID for.


Your TrueDepth Camera Can Make Face ID Not Available

Screen protectors and cases can prevent your camera from recognizing your face. Dirt and debris can also cause faulty recognition results. Check to make sure your camera is clean and unobstructed.

Covering Your Face Can Make Your Face ID Not Available

Make sure your face is uncovered. The TrueDepth camera must have a full view of your eyes, nose, and mouth to process all the information that it needs. Also, check to make sure your sunglasses aren’t preventing your face ID. The camera works with some sunglasses, but infrared-blocking glasses can obstruct the camera’s view. Also, make sure that your iPhone is in portrait orientation and that you are facing the camera.

How Can I Reset My Face ID? An Alternate Appearance Can Hep

If Face ID just isn't working, you can reset Face ID and start over with fresh scans of your face. Or you may have different makeup looks or facial hair changes, in which case you can set up an alternate appearance to assist your iPhone's Face ID in learning the different ways that you can look. You can do this by using the following steps:

  1. Open the Settings app, then tap Face ID & Passcode once again.
  2. Enter your passcode.
  3. Tap Set Up an Alternate Appearance or Reset Face ID.
  4. Look at your phone and make sure your face is inside the frame.
  5. Move your head to complete the circle.

    set up an alternate face id appearance
  6. Tape Continue after the first Face ID scan.
  7. Repeat and complete the circle a second time.
  8. Tap Done when the Face ID setup is complete.

5 Reasons Why Your iPhone May Require a Passcode Instead of Face ID

There are some times when you may find Face ID is not available even if it is set up correctly and your iPhone is working correctly:

  1. You have just restarted or turned on your iPhone.
  2. Forty-eight hours have passed since your iPhone was unlocked.
  3. It has been six and a half days since your passcode has been used to unlock your iPhone, and Face ID has not unlocked the iPhone in the previous four hours.
  4. Your iPhone has been locked remotely.
  5. You have not been able to unlock your phone with your face five times.

If none of these tips help you, there could be something more serious happening with your iPhone, and it would be wise to have it looked at by an Apple support professional.

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Author Details

Leanne Hays's picture

Author Details

Leanne Hays

Leanne Hays has over a dozen years of experience writing for online publications. As a Feature Writer for iPhone Life, she has authored hundreds of how-to, Apple news, and gear review articles, as well as a comprehensive Photos App guide. Leanne holds degrees in education and science and loves troubleshooting and repair. This combination makes her a perfect fit as manager of our Ask an Expert service, which helps iPhone Life Insiders with Apple hardware and software issues.
In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.