Remember unlocking your Nokia by typing out a 4 digit passcode on those plastic buttons? Those phones are literally in museums now but you can guarantee they’re still working, unlike the Face ID on your iPhone. Of course, you can still unlock your iPhone without Face ID; you’ll just have to type your passcode every time like a neanderthal. If you’d like to rejoin the future and get your Face ID working again the first step is to figure out the underlying problem that caused your Face ID to stop working in the first place.
Is your iPhone on the latest software?
Sometimes simply updating your iPhone to the latest software version will remedy the Face ID not working issue. All you need to do is go to settings app – general – software update to check for and install any updates.
Try a hard reset
If your iPhone is already on the latest software version, make sure you try doing a hard reset. To do that quickly press and release the volume up button, then quickly press and release the volume down button. Finally, click and hold down the power button until the iPhone screen turns black and goes back to the Apple logo.
Is anything covering your face or the camera?
If you’re wearing glasses, a hat, Dr. Doom’s mask etc take it off and try using Face ID again. Also, take off any case or screen protector on the iPhone to see if they might be interfering with the TrueDepth Face ID cameras.
Check your Face ID settings
Go to settings app – “Face ID & Passcode”. Note – If you don’t see this option it means your iPhone isn’t equipped with Face ID. Only these models come equipped with Face ID:
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XR
- iPhone X
If you see “Set Up Face ID” in blue letters, you’ve found the problem. You either never set up Face ID to begin with or someone erased your Face (how rude!). All you need to do is click “Set Up Face ID” to get up and running.
If Face ID is already set up, look at the top options under “Use Face ID For:” and make sure the toggle for “iPhone Unlock” is switched on.
Maybe it’s your face
If your face has changed slowly over time your iPhone will usually learn and adjust. But if your face has changed drastically in a short period of time your iPhone might not recognize who you are. Even if nothing has changed at all, the next step is to try resetting your face ID data entirely. Go to settings app – Face ID and Passcode & then click the red “Reset Face ID” option. Afterwards, re-add your face and see if that does the trick.
The nuclear option: Restore your software
If nothing else has worked the last step is putting an entirely new copy of software on your iPhone. This is likely going to take you several hours but it might just save you from buying a replacement iPhone or getting an expensive repair. To restore your iPhone’s software you’ll need to connect it to a computer running iTunes. Once connected, click the “Restore iPhone” button. It will prompt you to back up your iPhone, make sure you do that before restoring the software.
Still not working? Your iPhone is probably broken
If you’ve tried all of these options and your Face ID still isn’t working it likely means you’re going to need to take it in for a repair or buy a replacement iPhone. If you’re getting a message that says “Face ID Is Not Available” or “Unable to activate Face ID on this iPhone” that’s the final nail in the coffin. These messages mean there’s some kind of hardware problem causing the Face ID to malfunction. The 2 most common reasons Face ID stops working is because your iPhone has been dropped or the screen was repaired by someone who damaged the Face ID components in the process.
The Face ID sensors can only be repaired by Apple, you cannot have this repair performed by any 3rd party repair shops as the Face ID cameras are linked to your motherboard for security and have to be programmed by Apple. If your iPhone is no longer under warranty this is going to be a costly repair. You can expect to pay anywhere between $399 and $599 depending on your model.
You’re probably better off either using the iPhone as-is with the Face ID not working or buying a replacement and selling your broken iPhone to offset the cost. At today’s prices you can get a pre-owned iPhone X on ebay for about $350 and you can sell your broken one to websites like GadgetGone for around $75, making your total out-of-pocket cost only $275.
Ready to Sell?