How to Fix ‘Unable to activate Touch ID on this iPhone’ error?

On iPhones, Touch ID offers more than just a way to unlock your device; it facilitates identity verification in the App Store and enables you to make payments with ease. However, when Touch ID ceases functioning, it can be highly inconvenient. Touch ID is dependent on both hardware and software, which means that various factors, such as a dirty sensor, hardware damage, or software glitches, can lead to its malfunction.

Unable to Activate Touch ID on this iPhone

Before diving into potential fixes, it’s essential to ensure that the issue doesn’t stem from something within your control. First, check that both your fingers and your iPhone’s Home button are clean and dry. Any residue on your fingers or the Home button can impede the activation of Touch ID. Additionally, disconnect your device from any cables, as charging issues or device overheating may disrupt software functionality and cause glitches.

Also, ensure that your iPhone’s screen protector or case isn’t obscuring the Home button. You might consider enrolling a new fingerprint to sidestep the problem without the need for complex troubleshooting.

Note: Touch ID is available on the iPhone 8 and earlier models, as well as on the 3rd and 4th generation iPhone SE. Consequently, iPhone X and later models do not feature Touch ID, as they come with Face ID instead.

Method 1: Activate Touch ID from Settings on iPhone

Activating Touch ID directly from the iPhone Settings is a straightforward fix for users unable to activate the feature.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Navigate to and select Touch ID and Passcode.
  3. When prompted, input your passcode.
  4. Turn off the toggles for iTunes & App Store, Apple Pay, and iPhone Unlock.
    Touch ID & Passcode settings
  5. Restart your iPhone.
  6. Reopen the Settings app.
  7. Return to Touch ID and Passcode.
  8. Remove the existing fingerprint.
  9. Tap Add a Fingerprint, position your finger on the sensor, and follow the on-screen instructions to set it up correctly.
    Add a Fingerprint
  10. Re-enable the options you want to use with Touch ID.
  11. Restart your iPhone once more, and your new fingerprint should now be active.

Method 2: Reboot Your Device

A force restart of your iPhone can resolve issues that prevent it from booting correctly. Restarting is often useful for addressing minor problems.

  1. For iPhone 6 and earlier: Press and hold the Power and Home buttons simultaneously for about 10 seconds until the Apple logo appears.
  2. For iPhone 7 and 7 Plus: Press and hold the Power and Volume Down buttons at the same time for about 10 seconds until the Apple logo appears.

    iPhone 7

  3. For iPhone 8 and later: Quickly press and release the Volume Up button, followed by the Volume Down button. Then, press and hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears.
    Unable to activate Touch ID on this iPhone

Method 3: Factory Restore Your iPhone

A factory restore can eliminate persistent software problems by erasing all data and reinstalling the latest iOS version.

  1. Launch iTunes on your computer.
  2. Ensure you have the most recent version of iTunes by going to the Help tab and selecting Check for Updates. If an update is available, click Install.
  3. Connect your iPhone to your PC or Mac using the USB charging cable.
  4. Follow on-screen prompts to unlock your device or to Trust this Computer if asked.
  5. Select your iPhone from the list of devices.
  6. In the Summary panel, click Restore iPhone.
    restore iPhone
  7. Confirm your choice by clicking Restore again. This will delete all data and reinstall the iOS software.
    Unable to activate Touch ID on this iPhone
  8. Once the process completes, you can set up your iPhone as new.

Method 4: Update to the Latest iOS Version

Out-of-date software can lead to various issues, including problems with activating Touch ID. Keep your device updated to prevent such issues.

  1. Navigate to Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Go to General.
  3. Select Software Update.
    iphone software update
  4. If an update is available, tap Download and Install.
  5. After updating, verify whether the Touch ID issue has been resolved.

Note: Ensure your iPhone has sufficient battery and storage space before updating.

Method 5: Reset All Settings

Resetting your iPhone to its default settings can resolve software glitches and restore Touch ID functionality.

  1. Open Settings and head to General.
  2. Scroll down and select Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  3. Choose Reset and tap Reset All Settings.
    reset all settings
  4. Enter your passcode when prompted.
  5. Tap on Reset All Settings to confirm.
  6. Once your iPhone restarts, the problem with activating Touch ID should be resolved.

Method 6: Visit the Nearest Apple Store

If none of the above methods rectify the issue, it could indicate a hardware defect. In this situation, bringing your iPhone to the nearest Apple Store for a professional diagnosis and repair is advisable.

Alternatively, you can seek further assistance from Apple Support.

apple support


Abdullah Iqbal

Abdullah is a Google IT certified Help Desk Technician with extensive experience in providing technical support to system users. He has a proven track record of effectively resolving IT issues, and is adept at working with tools like Jira and ZenDesk to efficiently manage support tickets. Abdullah is committed to staying up-to-date with the latest technological advancements and constantly seeks to improve his skills and knowledge through professional development opportunities.