Face ID Is Not Available
Face ID Is Not Available

When addressing issues with Apple’s Face ID not working properly on an iPhone or iPad, there are several troubleshooting steps you can undertake. You may notice that when you try to use an App or login that your phone isn’t recognizing your face anymore. Or you may get a more direct error like “Face ID Has Been Disabled” or something along those lines. These steps are designed to resolve common problems that might prevent Face ID from functioning as expected.

Reasons Why Face ID May Not Be Working

There are several reasons why Face ID may not be working on your iPhone or iPad. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Your face isn’t fully visible to the TrueDepth camera. Make sure your eyes, nose, and mouth are fully visible to the camera. If you’re wearing a face mask, make sure it’s not covering your mouth or nose. If you’re wearing glasses, try removing them to see if that helps.
  • The TrueDepth camera is blocked. Make sure nothing is covering the TrueDepth camera, such as a case, screen protector, or dirt or smudges.
  • You’re facing the wrong way. Face ID works best when you’re facing the TrueDepth camera directly. Make sure you’re holding your iPhone or iPad in portrait orientation and that your face is centered in the camera frame.
  • You’re too far from the TrueDepth camera. Face ID works best when you’re holding your iPhone or iPad about an arm’s length away from your face.
  • You’re in too dimly lit or too brightly lit of an environment. Face ID works best in well-lit environments. If you’re in a dimly lit environment, try moving to a brighter area. If you’re in a brightly lit environment, try shading your face from the light.
  • Your face has changed significantly. If you’ve recently grown a beard, changed your hairstyle, or gotten a new haircut, Face ID may not recognize you. Try updating your Face ID data to see if that helps.
  • You haven’t updated your Face ID data in a while. Face ID data can become outdated over time, especially if your appearance has changed. Try updating your Face ID data to see if that helps.
  • There’s a problem with the TrueDepth camera. If you’ve tried all of the above troubleshooting tips and Face ID is still not working, there may be a problem with the TrueDepth camera. You can take your iPhone or iPad to an Apple Store or an authorized Apple service provider to have it diagnosed and repaired.

Here are some additional tips for using Face ID:

  • Make sure your face is clean and dry. Dirt, oil, and sweat can interfere with Face ID’s ability to recognize your face.
  • Avoid using Face ID in direct sunlight or in very bright environments. Direct sunlight can make it difficult for the TrueDepth camera to see your face.
  • If you’re wearing a hat or sunglasses, try removing them before using Face ID. Hats and sunglasses can obscure your facial features and make it difficult for Face ID to recognize you.
  • If you’re using a third-party screen protector, make sure it’s compatible with Face ID. Some third-party screen protectors can interfere with the TrueDepth camera’s ability to see your face.
  • If you’re still having problems with Face ID, you can reset it and try again. To reset Face ID, go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Reset Face ID.

Troubleshooting Steps for Face ID Issues

  1. Check Your Face ID Settings:
    • Ensure that Face ID is enabled in your device settings.
    • Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode and check that all options under “Use Face ID for” are turned on​​​​.
  2. Ensure Nothing Is Blocking the TrueDepth Camera:
    • Remove any obstructions like smudges, cases, or screen protectors that might be covering the TrueDepth camera.
    • If using an iPad in landscape orientation, ensure your finger or palm isn’t covering the TrueDepth camera​​.
  3. Make Sure Your Face Isn’t Blocked:
    • Face ID requires a clear view of your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • If you’re wearing a face mask, set up Face ID with a mask for better recognition.
    • Face ID might not work with certain types of sunglasses that block infrared light​​.
  4. Proper Device Orientation and Distance:
    • Face ID works in both portrait and landscape orientations on iPhone 13 and 14 models using iOS 16.
    • For earlier iPhone models and iPads, ensure correct orientation and that the device is within arm’s length (10-20 inches) from your face​​.
  5. Restart Your Device:
    • Restarting your iPhone or iPad can resolve minor software glitches that may affect Face ID.
    • For iPhone X, XS, XS Max, or XR, press and hold either volume button and the side button until the power-off slider appears.
    • Slide to power off, then wait a few moments.
    • Press and hold the side button to turn your iPhone back on​​.
    • After restarting, enter your passcode and try using Face ID again​​.
  6. Add an Alternate Appearance:
    • If your appearance changes significantly, set up an alternate appearance in Face ID settings.
    • This feature helps Face ID recognize you with various looks​​.
  7. Reset Face ID:
    • If the above steps don’t work, consider resetting Face ID.
    • Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode, then tap Reset Face ID and set it up again​​.
  8. Contact Apple Support:
    • If Face ID still isn’t working and you suspect a hardware issue with the TrueDepth camera, contact Apple Support for further assistance​​.

Additional Considerations

  • Software Updates: Ensure your device is running the latest version of iOS or iPadOS, as updates often contain bug fixes and improvements​​.
    • Go to Settings > General > Software Update.
    • If an update is available, download and install it​​.
  • Check for Physical Damage: Inspect your device for any physical damage, especially around the TrueDepth camera area, which could affect Face ID functionality.
  • Check Content & Privacy Restrictions: Sometimes, settings under Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions can disable Face ID. Check these settings and disable any relevant restrictions, then restart your iPhone​​.
  • Physical Damage: Inspect your iPhone for any signs of physical damage, especially around the TrueDepth camera area. Damage to this area can cause Face ID to malfunction.
  • Environmental Factors: Ensure that you’re using Face ID in a well-lit environment and that the camera isn’t obscured by a case or screen protector.
  • Recent Repairs: If you recently had your phone in for a repair for any reason, there’s a chance your issues related to Face ID could be tied to the repair. Sometimes it can be the fault of the repair shop and other times your Face ID may have been damaged prior to the repair being done. It’s sometimes possible to lose Face ID after a phone has been through a repair process – especially if it was something related to the screen or cameras.

Advanced Troubleshooting:

Put Your iPhone in DFU Mode

Device Firmware Update (DFU) mode is a more thorough reset and can resolve deeper software issues.

  • Before doing this, back up your iPhone to preserve your data.
  • Follow the steps for a DFU restore, which can be found on Apple’s support website or through a guide.
  • Note: This process erases and reloads every line of code on your iPhone​​.

Conclusion

Face ID issues on iPhones and iPads are often resolvable with the above troubleshooting steps. However, if these steps don’t resolve the issue, it might indicate a more serious problem, possibly with the hardware, which would require professional assistance from Apple Support.

Eric Chan

Hi! I’m Eric and I work on the knowledge base at GadgetMates.com.  You can see some of my writings about technology, cellphone repair, and computer repair here.

When I’m not writing about tech I’m playing with my dog or hanging out with my girlfriend.

Shoot me a message at ericchan@gadgetmates.com if you want to see a topic discussed or have a correction on something I’ve written.

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