With the release of iPhone X, Apple switched to a new biometric authentication system. The new system uses your facial data to unlock your iPhone and hence is dubbed as Face ID. Just like it is with every new change in technology, Face ID was not welcomed at first. However, after using a device with Face ID for over a year now, I can definitely say that it is the future of biometric authentication. Still, the transition to the new Face ID system has not been a smooth sailing for all iPhone users and we normally see many people complaining about Face ID not working properly on their devices. Well, if you are someone who has also faced problems with Face ID, here is how you can fix it on your iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR:

Face ID not working? Here’s how to fix it

In this article, we will be going through all the different solutions that might solve the problem of Face ID not working on your iPhone. Some of these solutions might seem silly, but believe it or not, they do work. So here’s everything you need to know to fix the Face ID not working problem:

1. Restart Your iPhone

As I said, some of these solutions might sound silly and this probably the silliest sounding one of them all. Restarting your iPhone is the first thing you should try no matter what crazy glitch or problem you are encountering. With iPhone X and newer iPhones featuring no Home Button, the process of turning off your phone has become a little different. Now, you need to hold down the Side button and either of the volume buttons until you see the option to switch off your iPhone.

shutting off iphone

Once your iPhone is switched off, press and hold on the Side button until the Apple logo appears and wait for your phone to turn on. In more than 50% of the Face ID not working cases, this simple procedure should solve the problem.

2. Check for Software Update

If the Face ID is not working on your iPhone, another thing that you should check for is the software update. Apple often releases bug fixes via new software updates and you should certainly update your iPhone as soon as the updates are out. To check if you have a software update or not, open the Settings app and go to General -> Software Update and tap on the “Download and Install” button if an update is available.

checing for software udpate

3. Maintain the Required Distance

If your Face ID is not working intermittently, then chances are that you are not holding the phone at a required distance. As per Apple’s guidelines, you should be holding your iPhone at a distance of 10-inches to 20-inches for the Face ID to work flawlessly.

4. Check Your Sunglasses

It should be known that Face ID seems to not work when wearing certain types of sunglasses. Basically, the sunglasses which stop infrared light to pass through them cause Face ID to fail as infrared light is a part of its verification system. Sadly, there is no way to tell which sunglasses won’t work with Face ID so you might want to check if it’s your sunglasses that are the problem.

5. Make Sure Your Face ID Sensors Are Not Covered

One of the biggest reason behind the failings of Face ID is that users unknowingly cover the Face ID sensors. It might be the screen protector you are using or the sensors might have gotten dirty and covered with dust. That’s why you should clean sensors and remove any screen protector you have on it if Face ID is not working for you. We would suggest using a screen guard with a cutout for a notch, you can go through our lists of the best screen protectors for iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max to find a great one.

6. Set Up Alternate Appearance

With iOS 12, Apple allowed users to set an alternate appearance. This is a great feature for people whose work require them to wear a mask or cover a part of their face as they can set that specific look as an alternate appearance so that the Face ID is able to identify them in any situation. To set an alternate appearance, open the Settings app and go to Face ID & Passcode -> Set Up an Alternative Appearance and set it up.

setting up altenratie apperace

7. Turn off Attention Aware Feature

By default, the Face ID requires you to look at your iPhone with intent for Face ID to work. While this is a handy feature for extra security, if you are seeing too many failed unlocking attempt you can turn this feature off. The feature can be found in the Settings app by going to Face ID & Passcode. Here, scroll down to find the “Require Attention for Face ID” and turn it off.

7. Turn off Attention Aware Feature

8. Reset Face ID

If none of the above features work for you, the last thing that you can do is to reset Face ID and set it up again. To do that, open the Settings app, tap on Face ID & Passcode, and then tap on “Reset Face ID” to re-enter your facial data.

8. Reset Face ID

SEE ALSO: How to Take a Screenshot on iPhone

Fix Your Face ID Not Working Problem With These Easy Fixes

As you can see, the solutions are pretty simple. I have been using iPhone X for last year or so and Face ID has worked great for me. In cases I encountered any problems, these steps were enough to get it working for me. If nothing solves the problem, you should get your iPhone checked by an authorised service center so they can solve it, or replace your iPhone.


  1. None of these worked !
    My iPhone yo-yos back and forth from asking me to move the phone a little lower and then a little higher and this goes on for five minutes before it ultimately says it cannot see my face at all and to try again later. It used to work fine.