When it works, Touch ID is transformative technology that leaves many wondering how they ever went without it. There are no shortage of iPhone 5S owners who look to the 2nd generation iPad Air or iPad mini with retina, so they can gain the convenience and security that comes with a Touch ID enabled device. Like all good things, technology can is great, when it works. It can also be incredibly frustrating when it doesn’t work, even more so in the case of Touch ID, which is the gatekeeper to accessing your iPhone. Over time, have you seen Touch ID lose its luster. Have you seen a decline in accuracy? Here are a few tried and true tips on how to fix Touch ID when your fingerpints cannot be read.

Touch ID fingerprint

Update to iOS 7.1

With Apple’s iOS 7.1 software update, they improved fingerprint recognition. So if you haven’t yet, you’ll want to download update to iOS 7.1.

First things first, what’s changed since you first cracked the plastic on your new iPhone 5S? When you setup Touch ID, it was the first meeting of fingers and the new fingerprint sensor. Your iPhone was brand new, allowing for solid data being read and transferred from your fingertips to your iPhone. Over time, oils and debris can build up on the surface. I’m not suggesting you’ve eaten plates of wings without using a proper wet knap before using your iPhone.


It’s natural for your fingertips to excrete oils. Even those who are obsessive with washing their hands, oils can impede the reliability of Touch ID. On a semi-regular basis, use a soft lint-free cloth to clean the Touch ID home button. It can be a difference maker.

Delete Touch ID Fingerprints From iPhone 5S

If you are still experiencing issues, it might best to delete your existing fingerprints and re-scan them. Swipe left on a fingerprint for an option to delete it. When you go through the process of re-scanning your fingerprints, plan on setting aside a fair amount of time for the process. Rushing through the process, which I’ve been guilt of in the past, can result in less than optimal results. Wings or no wings for lunch, give you hands a quick wash.

Delete fingerprints Touch ID

Add New Fingerprints To Touch ID

  1. Navigate to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode
  2. Select Add a Fingerprint
  3. Whichever finger you use to unlock, use it to create your first fingerprint scan. Hold it on the home button until you feel a quick vibration or asked to lift your finger.
  4. Repeat the process as instructed, making small adjustments. Don’t go too crazy. Slight shifts are good.
  5. Next you’ll adjust your grip. This should help the scan capture more of your fingerprint.

Before adding multiple fingerprints, you should test Touch ID. Is it improved? If so, repeat the process for other commonly used fingers. If not, delete the fingerprint from the iPhone 5s and repeat the steps above.

It’s not uncommon for a feature like Touch ID, which worked great on launch day, to slowly lose its mojo. Following the steps outlined above, you’ll be able to right the ship when your fingerprint cannot be read, allowing you to once again fall in love with Touch ID. Okay, maybe not flowers and greeting cards love, but the kind of love that extends to electrical components.