Touch ID

Touch ID is a seamless way to use your fingerprint as a passcode. With just a touch of the Home button of the iPhone 5s, the Touch ID sensor quickly reads your fingerprint and automatically unlocks your phone. You can even use it to authorize purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store. Touch ID is capable of 360-degree readability, which means no matter what its orientation, your iPhone reads your fingerprint and knows who you are.

Setting up Touch ID

You can set up Touch ID in iOS Setup Assistant or by tapping Settings > Touch ID & Passcode. To set up Touch ID, you must first set a passcode. Touch ID is designed to minimize the input of your passcode, but you need a passcode for additional security validation, such as enrolling new fingerprints.

Use these steps to enroll your fingerprint:

  1. Make sure that the Home button and your finger are clean and dry.
  2. Hold the iPhone as you normally would when touching the Home button.
  3. 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.
    Place Your Finger screen
    Don’t press the button, only touch it lightly.
  4. Continue to lift and rest your finger slowly, making small adjustments to the position of your finger each time.
  5. After the initial scan completes, you’ll be asked to adjust your grip to capture the edges of your fingerprint.
  6. 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.

Learn more:

  • If you have trouble enrolling one finger, try enrolling a different finger.
  • As you use Touch ID, it will continue to learn and improve recognition of your fingerprint.
  • Using Touch ID sets your Require Passcode setting to Immediately. You can still enter your passcode simply by sliding to unlock.
  • If you unintentionally slide and reach the passcode entry screen, you can still use Touch ID to unlock your iPhone (as long as there haven’t been five unsuccessful attempts to recognize your finger).
  • Touch ID works only for fingers that you enrolled. You can enroll up to five fingers using Settings > Touch ID & Passcode.
  • With each additional finger that you enroll, it may take slightly longer for Touch ID to recognize your finger when you use it.

Using Touch ID instead of your passcode

You can use Touch ID to unlock your phone without having to enter your passcode every time. There are two ways you can unlock with Touch ID:

  • Press the Home button once to wake iPhone 5s and keep your finger lightly on the Home button.
  • Press the Sleep/Wake button once to wake iPhone 5s, and then touch your finger lightly on the Home button.

If Touch ID doesn’t recognize your finger, you’ll be asked to try again. After three attempts, you’ll be given the option of entering your passcode. After two more tries, you will need to enter your passcode. In addition, you will need to enter your passcode to unlock your iPhone in these conditions:

  • After restarting your iPhone 5s
  • When more than 48 hours have elapsed from the last time you unlocked your iPhone 5s
  • To enter the Touch ID & Passcode setting

Using Touch ID for iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store purchases

You can also use Touch ID instead of entering your Apple ID password to purchase content from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store.

If you haven’t already, make sure that iTunes & App Store is turned on in Settings > Touch ID & Passcode. If you can’t turn on this setting, make sure that your Apple ID is signed in under Settings > iTunes & App Store.

Follow these steps to purchase content with Touch ID:

  1. Open the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBooks Store.
  2. Select an app, song, video, or book to purchase. Instead of the Apple ID password prompt, a Touch ID prompt is displayed.
  3. Lightly touch the Home button with a finger you’ve enrolled to purchase your content.
    Touch ID, enter password, or cancel

You will be asked to scan your fingerprint with each purchase.

If Touch ID doesn’t recognize your finger, you’ll be asked to try again. After five failed attempts, you’ll be given the option to enter your Apple ID password. In addition, you will be required to enter your Apple ID password after restarting your iPhone 5s or enrolling or deleting fingers

Note: You can’t use Touch ID for purchases if Require Password in Settings > General > Restrictions is set to Immediately.

Cleaning the Touch ID sensor

A clean Touch ID sensor can read your fingerprint more easily. As needed, use a clean, lint-free cloth to wipe off any dirt or debris from the Home button.

Managing Fingerprints and Settings

Go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode to change your settings:

  • Enable or disable Touch ID for Passcode or iTunes & App Store.
  • Enroll new fingerprints.Touch ID settings
  • Tap Edit to rename your existing fingerprints.
  • Swipe to delete a fingerprint.
  • If you have more than one fingerprint enrolled, you can touch a finger to the Home button to see the fingerprint it is linked to in the list. If your finger matches, that finger in the list will highlight briefly.

Resolving issues with Touch ID

  1. Make sure that you’re using the latest version of iOS.
  2. Make sure that your fingers and the Home button are clean and dry.*
    Note: Cover the Home button completely. Don’t tap too quickly, don’t press down hard, and don’t move your finger while Touch ID is scanning. Make sure that your finger touches the metal ring around the Home button.
  3. If you’re using a protective case or screen protector, it must leave the Home button and the surrounding ring completely unobscured. If it doesn’t, remove the case or screen protector and try again.
  4. Tap Settings > Touch ID & Passcode and verify that:
    • iPhone Unlock or iTunes & App Store is on.
    • You enrolled one or more fingerprints.
  5. Try enrolling a different finger.
  6. If you can’t enroll any of your fingers, take your iPhone 5s to an Apple Retail Store, Apple Authorized Service Provider, or contact AppleCare for further assistance.

* Moisture, lotions, sweat, oils, cuts, or dry skin might affect fingerprint recognition. Certain activities can also temporarily affect fingerprint recognition, including exercising, showering, swimming, cooking, or other conditions or changes that affect your fingerprint.

Touch ID security

Much of our digital lives are stored on our iPhones, and everyone should use a passcode to help protect this important information and their privacy. Unfortunately, not everyone does; more than 50 percent of smartphone users don’t use a passcode. Touch ID is a seamless way to use your fingerprint as a passcode. Your fingerprint is one of the best passcodes in the world. It’s always with you, and no two are exactly alike. With just a touch of the Home button of your iPhone 5s, the Touch ID sensor quickly reads your fingerprint and automatically unlocks your phone. You can even use it to authorize purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store.

Advanced technologies

The technology within Touch ID is some of the most advanced hardware and software we’ve put in any device. To fit within the Home button, the Touch ID sensor is only 170 microns thin, not much thicker than a human hair. This high-resolution 500 ppi sensor can read extremely fine details of your fingerprint. The button itself is made from sapphire crystal—one of the clearest, hardest materials available. This protects the sensor and acts as a lens to precisely focus it on your finger.

The steel ring surrounding the button detects your finger and tells Touch ID to start reading your fingerprint. The sensor uses advanced capacitive touch to take a high-resolution image from small sections of your fingerprint from the subepidermal layers of your skin. Touch ID then intelligently analyzes this information with a remarkable degree of detail and precision. It categorizes your fingerprint as one of three basic types—arch, loop, or whorl. It also maps out individual details in the ridges that are smaller than the human eye can see and even inspects minor variations in ridge direction caused by pores and edge structures.

Touch ID can even read multiple fingerprints, and it can read fingerprints in 360-degrees of orientation. It then creates a mathematical representation of your fingerprint and compares this to your enrolled fingerprint data to identify a match and unlock your iPhone. Touch ID will incrementally add new sections of your fingerprint to your enrolled fingerprint data to improve matching accuracy over time. Touch ID uses all of this to provide an accurate match and a very high level of security.

Security safeguards

Every fingerprint is unique, so it is rare that even a small section of two separate fingerprints are alike enough to register as a match for Touch ID. The probability of this happening is 1 in 50,000 for one enrolled finger. This is much better than the 1 in 10,000 odds of guessing a typical 4-digit passcode. Although some passcodes, like “1234”, may be more easily guessed, there is no such thing as an easily guessable fingerprint pattern. Instead, the 1 in 50,000 probability means it requires trying up to 50,000 different fingerprints until potentially finding a random match. But Touch ID only allows five unsuccessful fingerprint match attempts before you must enter your passcode, and you can’t proceed until doing so.

To configure Touch ID, you must first set up a passcode. Touch ID is designed to minimize the input of your passcode; but your passcode will be needed for additional security validation:

  • After restarting your iPhone 5s
  • When more than 48 hours have elapsed from the last time you unlocked your iPhone 5s
  • To enter the Touch ID & Passcode setting

Since security is only as secure as its weakest point, you can choose to increase the security of a 4-digit passcode by using a complex alphanumeric passcode. To do this, go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode and turn Simple Passcode off. This will allow you to create a longer, more complex passcode that is inherently more secure. Security is further strengthened by using a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

You can also use Touch ID instead of entering your Apple ID password to purchase content from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store. You will be asked to scan your fingerprint with each purchase. If Touch ID doesn’t recognize your finger, you’ll be asked to try again. After five failed attempts, you’ll be given the option of entering your Apple ID password. In addition, you will need to enter your Apple ID password after:

  • Restarting your iPhone 5s
  • Enrolling or deleting fingers

If your iPhone is lost or stolen, you can immediately disable Touch ID from being used to unlock your iPhone with Find My iPhone Lost Mode. iOS 7 offers additional protection against theft with Activation Lock, which requires an Apple ID and password to turn off Find My iPhone, erase data, or reactivate your device.

Secure Enclave

Touch ID doesn’t store any images of your fingerprint. It stores only a mathematical representation of your fingerprint. It isn’t possible for your actual fingerprint image to be reverse-engineered from this mathematical representation. iPhone 5s also includes a new advanced security architecture called the Secure Enclave within the A7 chip, which was developed to protect passcode and fingerprint data. Fingerprint data is encrypted and protected with a key available only to the Secure Enclave. Fingerprint data is used only by the Secure Enclave to verify that your fingerprint matches the enrolled fingerprint data. The Secure Enclave is walled off from the rest of A7 and the rest of iOS. Therefore, your fingerprint data is never accessed by iOS or other apps, never stored on Apple servers, and never backed up to iCloud or anywhere else. Only Touch ID uses it, and it can’t be used to match against other fingerprint databases.