Touch ID is a general-purpose fingerprint sensor that comes with many Mac models. With just a touch of your finger on your Mac's Touch ID sensor, you can sign in to an app, make a purchase in the App Store, unlock your device, and more.
But what can you do if Touch ID suddenly stops working on your Mac? Here are a few quick solutions you can try to get your Mac's Touch ID working again.
Sometimes you don't want Touch ID to work
It is possible you may not have heard of this, but there are some situations where you think something is wrong with your Mac's Touch ID sensor, but in fact everything is working as it should. Confusing isn't it?
There may be situations where, for security reasons, your Mac will ask you to enter your password instead of allowing you to use Touch ID. Here is a list of those situations:
After restarting your MacBook
After your Mac fails to recognize your fingerprint five times in a row
After adding or deleting fingerprints
After using Emergency SOS
When you haven't used your Mac for more than 48 hours
When you try to make changes to the Touch ID settings
So if you are trying to use Touch ID in the situations detailed above and your Mac does not allow you to do so, then there is nothing to worry about. Other than these cases, if your Mac's Touch ID doesn't recognize your fingerprint, then there is a problem with it.
How to fix Touch ID not working on Mac
There are a number of steps you can take to get your Mac's Touch ID to work properly. If your MacBook no longer recognizes your fingerprint for no apparent reason, here are six solutions to try.
1. Make sure your Mac is up to date
It is possible that your Touch ID issues are occurring because your Mac is not running the latest version of macOS software.
To update your Mac, go to System settings> Software update. When you see an update is available for your Mac, click Update now and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.
2. Clean the Touch ID sensor and hand wash your hands
If there is some dust or dirt on your MacBook's Touch ID sensor, it could be the cause of your problems. Just take a clean cloth and wipe the sensor thoroughly.
You should also make sure that your fingers are clean too. The Touch ID sensor does not respond well to wet or oily fingers, so wash and dry your hands before using it.
3. Restart your MacBook
The Touch ID problem with your Mac can be temporary and easy to fix. Sometimes restarting your device is all you need to do to resolve such a problem. To restart your Mac, go to Apple> restart from the menu bar.
If for some reason it doesn't restart normally, there are other methods to force restart your Mac.
4. Re-enter your fingerprints
Sometimes deleting your fingerprints and adding them back can be the solution to your Touch ID problems. To do this, go to System settings> Touch ID, hover over your fingerprint and click X symbol. Then click Clear.
To re-enter your fingerprint, click the Plus symbol (+) is located above Add fingerprint and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.
5. Reset the system management controller
Resetting the System Management Controller (SMC) can solve many Mac problems, including Touch ID issues. There are several different ways to reset the SMC on your Mac, and all of them usually don't take much time to complete.
6. Check the Touch ID settings
You may have turned off Touch ID for certain tasks or apps. For example, if you've noticed that your Mac's Touch ID works with most services other than Apple Pay, this must be the case.
To check the Touch ID settings on your Mac, go to System settings> Touch ID. Under Use Touch ID for, is a list of all the services that you can use Touch ID with. Make sure you've enabled the ones you want to use Touch ID on.
More solutions to Mac Touch ID problems
If you've tried all of the above and did nothing to resolve the Touch ID problem, it is entirely possible that you are having hardware issues. So, if you've found that your Mac's Touch ID sensor is damaged or has a lot of scratches, it is best to contact Apple for a possible repair.
5 warning signs your Mac is having a problem (and what to do about it)
Your Mac will often give warning signs that it is having a problem. Here's what to do about several common Mac warning messages.
About the author
(84 articles published)
Romana is a freelance writer with a keen interest in anything technology related. She specializes in creating instructions, tips and detailed explanations on all issues relating to iOS. Her main focus is on the iPhone, but she also knows a thing or two about the MacBook, Apple Watch, and AirPods.
By Romana Levko
Subscribe to our newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter for tech tips, reviews, free e-books, and exclusive offers!
One more step …!
Please confirm your email address in the email we just sent you.
Expand to read the full story