Recently I updated my MacBook Pro to High Sierra. After the upgrade, I quickly learned that Touch ID would no longer work. Fortunately, there was always the user password to login with. However, having Touch ID at the ready is a very convenient feature, so getting it back up and running was a must for me.
What is Touch ID?
Chances are, if you're reading this, you already know what Touch ID is. If not, it's simple: On some MacBook Pros, there is a small fingerprint sensor at the right edge of the Touch Bar. With that, Touch ID works to allow you to unlock your laptop with a fingerprint. This can also be used when an action requires a password such as paying with Apple Pay or installing software. Touch ID is an incredibly efficient and handy feature.
However, it isn't without its issues. Case in point, if you've upgraded to the latest iteration of macOS, you might find Touch ID failing to work. Fear not, the fix isn't difficult. In fact, there are two possible routes to success. Let's dive in and see which one will solve your problem.
The easiest route
Sometimes all that is necessary to fix what ails your Mac is a reboot. In some instances, that reboot is just the trick for getting Touch ID back up and running. Do note, upon reboot and first login, you will have to enter your user password as Touch ID isn't running until you've initially logged in, after a boot up or reboot. Once you've logged in with your password, close the lid, and give it time to actually suspend. After a short period, lift the lid and attempt to use Touch ID. If it works, you're good to go. If not, you'll need to move onto the next phase of the solution.
Deleting or adding your fingerprint
This method is pretty much foolproof for our particular issue. What you need to do is delete your current Touch ID fingerprint and re-add it. To do this, click on the Apple menu and then click System Preferences. From that window, click Touch ID. In the resulting window, hover your cursor over the current fingerprint (most likely labeled Finger 1) until a small X appears in the upper right corner (Figure A).
Click on the X, enter your user password, and then click Delete to confirm the deletion of the password.
Once the fingerprint has been deleted, click the Add a fingerprint button and walk through the prompts to register the new fingerprint. With the new fingerprint added, close the lid of your MacBook and after giving it enough time to suspend, lift the lid and attempt to login with Touch ID. It should now work as expected. If not, restart your MacBook, login with your password, and then attempt to use Touch ID. The reboot should be the final resolution, if needed.
A "never go back" feature
For me, Touch ID has become one of those features that has me thinking I'd never go back to typing passwords—if I can help it. So making sure Touch ID works is a must. If you've found yours failing, give these solutions a try and see if they don't resolve the issue.
- How to use macOS with only a keyboard (TechRepublic)
- How to make macOS screenshots even easier (TechRepublic Video)
- How to share folders to your network from macOS High Sierra (TechRepublic)
- How to create a bootable USB installer drive for macOS (TechRepublic)
- How to customize the Apple Touch Bar to add efficiency to the macOS desktop (TechRepublic)
- Has Face ID killed the Touch ID star? (ZDNet)
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.