Has anyone had problems using Touch ID?

It sounds like the better title of this discussion would have been, “Has anyone not had problems using Touch ID?”.

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Sometimes I’m reluctant to simply reply “not me,” but FWIW, Touch ID has always worked flawlessly for me on all the iPhones, iPads, and Macs I’ve ever used it on.


Yes, me too! And my partner.

I know some people have problems with TouchID, but I think the majority of people don’t (based on my anecdotal interactions).

Yeah, I know only two people who had trouble with Touch ID, Geoff Duncan and my sister. Who doesn’t play the guitar—it just didn’t like her. She simply moved to a Face ID iPhone as soon as they came out.

No one else I’ve talked to about it has had a significant problem.

I chalk up my issues with the fact I worked as hospitality management for twenty years, and I was required to wash my hands at least 50 to 60 times a day in the food and beverage portion of my job. As well as having my hands in bleach water for the same health regulation reasons. I’m surprised I have any fingerprint ridges left.

I’ve been retired from that occupation for decades, but I still have to use a hand cream every night to keep my fingers from painful cracking. I’m guessing my fingerprints are just permanently messed up. I wonder if those who have ongoing issues have a similar past?

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I don’t know about “permanently messed up”, but hand creams probably do affect the electrical conductivity of your skin. Maybe enough to make Touch ID unreliable.

Out of curiosity, do other touch interfaces (the phone screen, trackpads, etc.) also act flaky (or at least less than ideally)?

I also think your general health can have an impact. Years ago, I had a clock radio with a touch-pad for the snooze bar and alarm-off button. When I was using that radio, I found that when I was sick with a cold, those buttons wouldn’t work unless I grounded myself (by simultaneously touching a metal table-leg).

The electrical properties of skin seem to be affected by all kinds of things we don’t normally think about. And any of them could impact Touch ID, especially if your current state is different from what it was when your trained your fingerprints.

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I use the hand cream just overnight, then wash my hands first thing in the morning to remove it. It’s not applied again for the rest of the day until bedtime. In other words, it’s just a nighttime regimen.

Your postulation concerning issues with other touch interfaces is correct in my case. I often have to make several attempts to get touch interfaces to react to my swipe movements.

However, my general health is good, at least for my somewhat advanced age. Yes, that’s subjective of course, but I can say it certainly hasn’t changed notably since I trained my M2 MacBook Air for Touch ID.

I think I may just be too calloused on my fingertips at all times for there to be proper conductivity or recognition of fingerprints. (As opposed to my being just too calloused in a general sense, but that’s off topic.)

For me, that describes the iPad Air 4th Generation and the iPhone SE 2020, although the rate of decline is much faster on the iPad. The MacBook Air M1 touch sensor just works, with no degradation. Again, my experience.

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Actually, now that I think of it, Touch ID on my Air degraded more slowly than the mobile devices, but it did finally bite the dust.

A few years ago my wife had to submit fingerprints a school security check and they didn’t work. The guy who took the fingerprints said this was a well-known problem with ID systems. Eventually she got one that worked, but after that experience she has never bothered trying Touch ID.

After earlier discussion, I (again) retrained my iPhone and iPad with fingerprints. I was recognised for all of two days before they stopped working- even on brand new iPhone SE3. Hands are dry but the technology simply is not reliable, so I’m condemned to typing in endless passcodes. Come on Apple - you’re meant to be wizard designers so PROVE it!!!