IPad rejects my thumb print

For as long as IOS created the Touch ID I have used my thumb print as a natural way to access my ID for my 2017 iPad. I typically use the iPad in landscape mode for 95 percent of my online or reading activities and my thumb print has always been reliable until now. I believe my issue started with the release of iPad IOS and now the thumb print is rejected almost totally with iPad IOS 13.2.2. Obviously I’ve gone to using my index finger now to solve this problem and it works almost 100 percent. Not a big deal but I’m curious why this has occurred and if any other users have experienced the same issue.

Have you tried deleting the thumbprint and setting it up again in Settings > Touch ID & Passcode?

I’ve used both my index and my thumb on my iPad and have had no problems. I’m using a 5th generation iPad with the very latest public beta.

Oh yes, Adam. Many times. I notice now on my wife’s mini iPad that the same problem occurs. I’ll live with this. Just curious if this is unusual. Another factor that happens is that after washing dishes or otherwise subjecting my hands to water, the fingerprint will not be accepted. I would guess that to be normal though.

Hmm, no idea then, assuming you’ve done the usual restarting dance as well. My 10.5-inch iPad Pro has no issues with the Touch ID sensor. Perhaps worth calling Apple Support and seeing what they say, since it really should work with your thumb. Unless you have a truly strange thumb. :slight_smile:

I entered my thumb print again this morning and right now it seems to be working again. The problem has mainly occurred when waking from sleep mode with the magnetic cover closed. Other actions such as accessing my passwords have been okay. I’ll follow up in a couple days to put this to rest. Thanks.

This happens to me all the time. Washing your hands, showering, etc. affects your fingerprint. I just go back and set up again.

I entered my thumb print again this morning and right now it seems to be working again.

I have an elderly friend who can’t get TouchID to work at all for her. It’s really bizarre. We’ve tried every finger, even knuckles, and it works sporadically if at all, and after a few days it consistently fails.

This happens on both iPad Pro and iPhone 8. Apple Store has no clue. I’m convinced it must be due to something about her skin, which is sort of loose and squishy around her fingertips (hence my suggestion to use a knuckle or other body part). She finally gave up and just uses her passcode as when TouchID fails it’s more work than just using a passcode to begin with.

She’s going to get an iPhone 11 next week and move to FaceID, which should work reliably.

(I’ve never had any major issues with TouchID. Maybe 1 out 100 tries it fails, so it’s great. Early on I had occasions, like once a year, when I had to redo a fingerprint that stopped working, but that was years and several devices ago.)

I think it really can be a physical issue related to the person. For some people it just doesn’t work too well. (Another friend of mine used to line baseball fields as a part-time job and the chalk dust on his fingers meant TouchID didn’t work for him. When he stopped doing that job the sensor went back to working great.)

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My sister has huge problems with Touch ID too, and we never figured out why. My theory is cold hands (in part because capacitive screens don’t work that well when your hands are really cold outside in the winter). But that’s just a guess, and not something she can do much about.

Ditto. My wife and mother have never gotten Touch ID to work reliably.

I’m hoping Face ID eventually works better for them.

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I should mention that Touch ID always seems to work on my iPhone 7. That’s why I specifically cited problems on my iPad.

I have had only sporadic success with Touch ID on both an iPad and a MacBook Pro. I have re-set all my fingerprints more times than I can recall. Adam’s comment about cold hands certainly applies to me; also, I have had to have fingerprints taken (for background checks for teaching; for US citizenship) and every time they have had trouble getting decent ones; when entering/exiting with Nexus, several of my prints often only scan poorly or moderately well… so I’ve come to the conclusion that some people just don’t have good prints. However, this doesn’t sound like what’s happening to Charles and his wife, since there has been such an abrupt change. (Face ID however works like a charm, thank goodness!)

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After a few days of pondering this question and deleting and reinstalling thumb prints I just have to accept that I have a weird thumb. Sometimes it works, other times no. The index finger almost always works. I would add that the problem occurs mainly when opening the iPad from sleep mode. It’s certainly easier than having to type in the passcode every time. Thanks all for the comments.

My experience: I don’t have problems with the digits that I regularly use for Touch ID on my iPhone and iPad, but those that I don’t use regularly fail a lot. Specifically, I use my right thumb and right index finger to open them all the time, but even though I’ve registered the left thumb and index finger, I find they don’t work most of the time, especially after I haven’t used them much. And if I delete and re-register them, they still fail to work after a short time.

Like others have mentioned, I’ve also found that environmental changes also affect the reliability of Touch ID. For example, after I washed my hands, or in winter when the skin on the fingers becomes really dry, Touch ID doesn’t work as well, if at all.

Note that I don’t do much heavy work or do things that would cause excessive wear and tear on my hands, so maybe this is why I don’t have so many problems with my main digits. For those having persistent difficulties, perhaps this is a factor causing some of the problems.

My wife initially failed to record fingerprints taken for a background test for teaching, and the people doing the test said she was not the only one. They told her it was an individual thing; some people don’t have strong fingerprint patterns that record well. They had to make an extra effort the second time, and that time managed to get a usable print. After that, she did not to use a fingerprint on her iPhone.
Professional fingerprint services know how to get better prints, but I expect it would be harder to for individuals to get them reliably on an iPhone if they had been cleaning their hands, using chemicals, or doing other things that left residues on their hands. – Jeff Hecht

I have the same problem with my 5th generation iPad AND with my iPhone 8. Deleting the old fingerprints and creating new ones for my thumb improves the situation, but it is far from showing the reliability I was used to.

Touch ID works well on my iPad Pro 12.9” except—occasionally it will say “No service” in the upper left corner of the screen and Touch ID won’t work until I power it off and back on again. Weird.

That is weird—Touch ID doesn’t require cellular network access, so the No Service message must be an indication of something more general going wrong that’s also taking out Touch ID.

I can’t use TouchID at all (I’m very thankful for face ID). I have had two different government agencies tell me they can’t digitally scan my fingerprints. According to this article in Scientific American, this probably comes from (1) age, and (2) handling a lot of paper in my lifetime. But when it comes on suddenly like this, it seems more likely to be a software or hardware problem. Should one ever try cleaning the sensor button?


As the one who started it I’m surprised this thread has been hanging around so long. Lots of folks have similar problems. What also surprises me is that my weird thumb print has been easily accepted for the past week.