How to Fix Touch ID Not Working on Mac

a woman working on her macbook

Trying to find an effective way to fix the Touch ID that’s not working on your Mac?

Since its introduction in 2016, Touch ID has been making things more efficient for many MacBook users. They can open their Macs without entering a password while keeping their device security intact. Like any feature, however, Touch ID has its flaws. 

You can register a maximum of five fingerprints on Touch ID. Due to some glitches, however, it can keep you from adding IDs, even if you haven’t reached the limit of five. Some users also reported that the app couldn’t recognize their registered fingerprints. 

From software glitches to hardware issues and human errors, there are many reasons that Touch ID fails. Luckily, several solutions are available to restore its functionality. Here’s how to fix the Touch ID that’s not working on your Mac.

Let’s get right to it!

1. Start with Basic Troubleshooting.

Sometimes, a Touch ID that doesn’t work can be fixed with simple solutions. Before you try other solutions in this article, start with basic troubleshooting. 

do basic troubleshooting

Here are some simple methods that can help restore the functionality of the Touch ID:

  • Clean and dry your fingers: The fingerprint sensor on your Mac won’t respond if you have dirty or sweaty fingers. Before trying the Touch ID again, make sure your fingers are clean and free of sweat, oil, and moisture. While you’re at it, wipe the sensor and ensure that no liquid or dirt can affect its functionality.
  • Upgrade your macOS: A macOS upgrade often contains fixes for bugs and issues present on your computer, including Touch ID problems. Check if there’s an available update and follow the on-screen prompts to complete the process.
  • Restart your device: A simple reboot can fix minor issues that interfere with the functionality of your MacBook apps. Make sure not to skip this step when trying to fix the Touch ID that’s not working on your Mac. 

2. Check the Apps That Use Touch ID.

Does the Touch ID malfunction only when you’re using specific apps like Apple Pay or App Store? Maybe, you or another user has accidentally disabled Touch ID for those apps. To be sure, check whether you’ve enabled Touch ID for those applications.

Here’s how to check apps that use Touch ID:

  1. First, click the Apple menu.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Then, click Touch ID.
  4. Navigate to the Use Touch ID for section. Under that section, see if you’ve checked all the tasks and apps you want to use fingerprint authentication. 
touch id not working on mac
  1. If Touch ID is enabled for a task or app that doesn’t recognize your fingerprint, uncheck all the items under the Use Touch ID for section. 
  2. Shut down your Mac.
  3. Wait a few seconds before turning on your Mac. Then, go back to the Use Touch ID for section on your Touch ID settings. Re-check the items or apps and tasks that you want to use finger authentication for log-in purposes. 
  4. Lastly, exit the current window and try to use Touch ID on the same app you tried opening a while ago. See if it’s already working. 

If you aren’t successful in making the Touch ID work, try the other solutions below. 

3. Re-add Fingerprints to Fix Touch ID Issues on Mac. 

Whether you keep getting an error about the fingerprint limit or the Touch ID doesn’t work at all, re-adding your fingerprints can fix the issue. That way, you give Touch ID the chance to recognize your fingerprints properly again.

Here’s how to remove and then re-add your fingerprints on the Touch ID settings:

  1. First, open the Apple menu.
  2. Choose System Preferences from the menu.
  3. Now, select Touch ID.
  4. Click Touch ID MacBook Pro Settings
  5. You’ll see a window that contains that list of registered fingerprints. Hover on an icon of a fingerprint. Then, click the X button that will show up. 
touch id not working on mac
  1. When prompted, type your password. Then, press Delete to confirm the action.
  2. Do Steps 5 and 6 for each registered fingerprint.
  3. Once you’ve deleted all the fingerprints on the list, restart your computer.
  4. Once the computer is back on, click the Apple menu again.
  5. Select System Preferences. Then, click Touch ID
  6. On the next window, select Add a fingerprint. 
  7. Lastly, follow the on-screen instructions to complete adding a fingerprint.

After that, use your Touch ID. See if it’s now working. If not, check more fixes below. 

4. Re-enable Touch ID on Your Mac.

If you still can’t use Touch ID at this point, try re-enabling it. Disabling this feature and turning it on again can help remove any garbage memory or random bugs causing it to fail. This process should be quick and easy.

Here’s how to re-enable Touch ID to unlock your Mac:

  1. First, navigate your way to the Apple menu.
  2. Choose System Preferences. Then, click Touch ID.
  3. Under the Use Touch ID for section, find and uncheck the Unlocking your Mac option. 
touch id not working on mac
  1. Next, log out from your MacBook profile. Log back in after a few seconds.
  2. Then, go back to your Touch ID settings. Check the Unlocking your Mac option under the Use Touch ID for section. 

Now, check if you can unlock your MacBook with Touch ID. Still unsuccessful? We have a few more possible solutions for you. Check them out below. 

5. Reset the SMC to Restore Touch ID on Mac.

System Management Controller or SMC manages hardware settings on your Mac. These include Bluetooth, battery, and even your Touch ID. Resetting the SMC can help restore the functionality of your Touch ID. 

Here’s how to reset the SMC on your Mac:

  1. Start by plugging the charging cable into your computer.
  2. Then, shut down your Mac and immediately press the Control + Option + Shift + Power buttons. Keep holding down these buttons for about ten seconds.
reset SMC
  1. Let go of the buttons after ten seconds.
  2. Finally, complete the reset by turning your Mac on. 

6. Reset NVRAM to Fix Touch ID Not Working on Mac.

Non-Volatile Random Access Memory or NVRAM is another component you can reset to fix Touch ID issues. NVRAM stores different settings that your hard drives boot from. If it’s corrupted, it can cause multiple glitches, including a dysfunctional Touch ID.

Here’s how to reset NVRAM on your Mac:

  1. First, shut down your Mac.
  2. Next, switch it back on and immediately press and hold down these keys: Option + Command + P + R.
reset NVRAM
  1. Lastly, let go of these keys after around 20 seconds. Your Mac will automatically restart. 

7. Contact Apple Support. 

If nothing else has worked at this point, it’s time to contact Apple Support. There could be hardware issues that may require repair or replacement. You can reach out to Apple Support via chat, email, or phone. If you need to bring your Mac to any Apple Repair Center near you, set an appointment online to ensure a safe, convenient visit. 

contact apple support

That wraps up this article. Hopefully, we’ve helped fix your Touch ID issues. Got more Mac-related problems? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. We’ll do our best to answer them via comment or through another helpful how-to guide. 

If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂

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