Face ID is the easiest way to unlock an iPhone, authorize app purchases, and sign in to third-party apps. Registering your face for a Face ID is a simple process. However, you may encounter some problems in the process.
“Face ID is not available” is a common mistake that many iPhone users encounter when setting up Face ID. This guide looks at possible ways to troubleshoot Face ID on your iPhone.
Note. Face ID only supports iPhone models with a rectangular cutout at the top of the screen – starting with the iPhone X and above. This Apple Support document provides a complete list of iPhones and iPads that support facial authentication.
1. Set up Face ID correctly
When setting up Face ID, make sure your face is positioned correctly in the camera frame. After that, move your head in a circle and make sure that the Face ID setup agent captures all corners of your face.
You’ll also need to scan your face twice, so make sure you perform both face scans. Otherwise, iOS may not set up Face ID. Finally, if you’re using an iPhone, position it vertically in portrait orientation; performing a scan in landscape orientation may fail.
Note. If you’re using an iPad, you can set up and use Face ID in any orientation— portrait or landscape.
As a refresher, let’s look at the process of properly setting up Face ID on the iPhone.
1. Go to the Face ID menu on your iPhone (Settings > Face ID and passcode) and enter your iPhone’s password.
2. Tap Set Up Face ID.
3. Check out the instructions for more details and click “Get Started” to continue.
4. Hold your iPhone vertically in portrait orientation and place your face in the frame. Move your head in a circular motion until the green indicator completes the circle.
5. When the first Face ID scan is complete, place your face back in the frame and complete the second face scan.
6. Tap Done when the message “Face ID not configured” appears on your phone. Lock your iPhone and see if Face ID is working.
While you can use Face ID with sunglasses, masks, hats, scarves, etc., they can disrupt the setup process. If the problem persists, remove all accessories from your face and try scanning again.
2. Bring your iPhone closer to your face
Your iPhone must be arm’s length (or closer) from your face to set up and use your Face ID. Apple recommends a distance of 25 to 50 cm.
If your iPhone doesn’t scan your face when setting up Face ID, move the face closer to your iPhone and try again. Again, don’t forget to position your face in the camera frame and move your head in a circular motion.
3. Clean your iPhone’s TrueDepth camera
The TrueDepth camera system on your iPhone is the heart and soul of Face ID. This is a TrueDepth camera that creates a depth map and an infrared image of your face when you set up your Face ID. In the notch at the top of your iPhone’s display is the TrueDepth camera system.
If you can’t set up Face ID, make sure the TrueDepth camera isn’t covered. Wipe the vine on your iPhone with a clean, soft and dry cloth. This will remove dirt, oil and other particles blocking the TrueDepth camera. If the phone case or screen protector covers your iPhone’s notch, remove it and try scanning Face ID again.
4. Set up Face ID with accessibility features
The Face ID registration may also fail if you have a problem with your face or vision. In this case, set up your iPhone’s Face ID using Ease of Access Settings. This feature allows you to quickly set up Face ID without scanning the entire face. The TrueDepth camera captures multiple angles of your face and adjusts your Face ID with partial scans.
Here’s how to set up Face ID in Ease of Access:
1. Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode, enter your iPhone’s passcode, and tap Set Up Face ID. Follow the instructions and scan your face when prompted.
2. Tap Accessibility Options on the camera frame screen.
3. Then tap Use Incomplete Circle and tap Done on the next screen to finish the setup.
5. Restart or force restart your iPhone.
Restarting your iPhone is a simple solution to transient software crashes affecting Face ID. Turn off your iPhone, turn it back on, and then try setting up Face ID again.
Press and hold the side button of your iPhone and any of the volume buttons. Move the slider to turn off the slider to the right to turn off your iPhone.
Or, open the Settings app, select General, tap Shut Down, and move the slider to the right.
Wait about 10 seconds until your iPhone turns off completely. After that, press and hold the side button of your iPhone until the Apple logo appears on the screen.
Force restart iPhone
If your iPhone freezes and doesn’t shut down, restart it forcibly. Press and release the volume up button, press and release the volume down button, and then press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears on the screen.
Try setting up Face ID from scratch and see if restarting your iPhone fixes the problem.
6. Reset your iPhone
Updating your iOS settings can also fix issues that prevent your iPhone from setting up Face ID. Note that resetting your iPhone will remove all location, privacy, and network settings. The operation will also remove all Apple Pay cards associated with your device. However, your data and accounts are not deleted.
Follow the instructions to reset your iPhone:
1. Go to Settings > General > iPhone Transfer or Reset and tap Reset.
2. Select Reset All Settings and enter your iPhone’s password. Select Reset All Settings again in the confirmation prompt.
If your iPhone is running iOS 14 or earlier, select Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings to reset it.
Wait for your iPhone to turn back on and set up Face ID before doing anything else.
7. Update your iPhone
Software-related issues (buggy or outdated operating system) can also cause Face ID to malfunction. If you still can’t set up Face ID, update your iPhone and try again.
Connect your iPhone to a Wi-Fi network and select Settings > General > Software Update. Tap Download & Install to update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS.
Get professional help
If you still can’t set up Face ID, your iPhone’s TrueDepth camera is probably faulty. Go to your nearest Apple retail store or Apple service provider to check for hardware issues. Contact Apple Support if you don’t have an Apple Authorized Service Center near you.