Technology Apple

Secure your iPhone with your fingerprint using Touch ID

Introduction to Setting Up Touch ID

For years, iPhone security meant setting a basic passcode and using Find My iPhone to track a lost or stolen phone. With the introduction of iOS 7 and the iPhone 5S, though, Apple took security to a new level, thanks to the addition of the Touch ID fingerprint scanner.

Touch ID is built into the Home button and allows you to unlock your iOS device simply by pressing your finger onto the button. Even better, if you've set up Touch ID, you can forget retyping your password for every iTunes Store or App Store purchase; a fingerprint scan is all you need.

Read on to learn how to set up and use Touch ID.

To begin with, you need to be sure your device has Touch ID. As of this writing (Oct. 2014), the feature is only available if you're running iOS 7 or higher on:
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 5S
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad mini 3

Assuming you've got the right hardware, follow these steps:
  1. Tap the Settings app on your home screen
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap Touch ID & Passcode (on iOS 7.1 and up) or Passcode & Fingerprint (on iOS 7). If you've already set a passcode, enter it now. Otherwise, you'll continue to the next screen
  4. Tap Fingerprints (skip this step on iOS 7.1 and up)
  5. Tap Add a fingerprint.

At this point, your device will ask you to scan your fingerprint. To get a good scan of your fingerprint, do the following:
  • Choose the finger you want to scan. Depending on how you tend to hold your device when you pick it up, it probably makes sense to use your thumb or forefinger (you can add other fingers later)
  • Lay the fleshy pad of your finger lightly onto the Home button, but don't press the button or it will cancel your scan

  • When the device vibrates, lift your finger off the Touch ID scanner and press it down lightly again
  • Repeat this process, each time putting your finger onto the scanner in a slightly different way or at a slightly different angle. The more complete the scan of your fingerprint, the more flexibility you'll have in how you hold your finger when using Touch ID later. The red lines on the onscreen fingerprint represent your progress
  • When the main scan is complete, you'll be asked to scan the edges of your finger. Repeat the same process as before, using the sides, top, and other edges of your finger to get the best scan.

When the scan is complete, you'll be automatically moved on to the next step.

When you've finished scanning your fingerprint, you'll be taken to a Touch ID settings screen. There, you can do the following things:
  • iPhone/Passcode Unlock - Move this slider (which has different titles on iOS 7 and 7.1) to on/green to enable unlocking your iPhone with Touch ID
  • iTunes & App Store - When this slider is on/green, you can use your fingerprint to enter your password when buying from the iTunes Store and App Store apps on your device. No more typing out your password!

  • Change fingerprint name - By default, your fingerprints will be named finger 1, finger 2, etc. You can change these names, if you'd like. To do that, tap Edit, tap on the fingerprint whose name you want to change, and type the new name. When you're finished, tap Done.
  • Delete a Fingerprint - To remove a fingerprint, tap Edit, tap the red circle next to the one you want to delete, and then tap the Delete button.
  • Add a fingerprint - Tap the Add a fingerprint menu and follow the same process you used in Step 2. You can have up to 5 fingers scanned and they don't all have to be yours. If your partner or kids regularly use your device, scan their fingerprints, too.

Using Touch ID

Once you've set up Touch ID, it's simple to use.

Unlocking iPhone
To unlock your iPhone using your fingerprint, make sure it's on, then press the Home button with one of the fingers you've scanned and let the button up. Leave your finger on the button without pressing it again and you'll be at your home screen in no time.

Making Purchases
To use your fingerprint as a password to make purchases, use the iTunes Store or App Store apps as you normally would. When you tap the Purchase, Download, or Install buttons, a window will pop up asking if you want to enter your password or use Touch ID. Lightly lay one of your scanned fingers on the Home button (but don't click it!) and your password will be entered and your download will continue.

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