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iPhone 5S TouchID reportedly losing accuracy over time

Luke Johnson


iPhone 5S
iPhone 5S

A number of iPhone 5S users have suggested that their phone’s TouchID fingerprint scanner is losing accuracy following initial uses.

With the iPhone 5S having been on sale for less than three months, handset owners have started suggesting that they have been forced to rescan their fingers on a number of occasions due to degradation in the TouchID sensor’s ability to read prints.

“I’ve been using Touch ID since I got an iPhone 5s in mid-October,” Dr Drang, an online commentator described by news outlets as ‘a consulting engineer well known amongst nerds on the internet’ has stated.

He added: “Generally speaking, I like it, and I find it faster than the old swipe-and-passcode method, but I’ve felt compelled to reteach it my fingerprints twice already. I know this sounds impossible, but its recognition of my prints seems to decay with time.”

Detailing the issues he stated: “I rescanned my fingers this weekend, and Touch ID has been amazingly fast and accurate since then. Just as it was when I first got the 5s, and just as it was a few weeks later when I rescanned my fingers for the first time. Just before each rescan, though, I was so frustrated with Touch ID I felt like throwing the phone across the room.”

Drang is not alone in his complaints of a degrading TouchID sensor either. Since his reports surfaced earlier this week, dozens of iPhone 5S owners have since shared their own TouchID accuracy issues.

According to tech site BGR, “numerous people have posted responses on Twitter and sent BGR emails indicating that they are experiencing Touch ID accuracy degradation as described in this post.”

Apple has yet to comment on claims of TouchID degradation and, at present, we at TrustedReviews have yet to experience any such issues ourselves with our own iPhone 5S handsets.

A fingerprint scanner protected by a sapphire glass layer, the iPhone 5S incorporated TouchID sensor can be used to unlock the Samsung Galaxy S4 rivalling handset, or as a quick method for making purchases through the Apple App Store.

Read More: iPhone 5C review


December 6, 2013, 5:52 pm

That's good timing! I just today had to re-scan my fingerprints as it was getting sluggish at best, sometimes not working and resulting in me needing to use the passcode. After the re-scan, lightning fast again! I though it was just me or maybe i'd got dirty fingers or something.

Lester Crothers

December 6, 2013, 8:14 pm

That's interesting to note. I thought it was just a phenomenon related to my iPhone. Lately I have experienced 'Try again' responses to fingertip recognition. I have not yet tried a rescan of the fingerprint, but will now carry it out.


December 6, 2013, 9:24 pm

Apple is experimenting with this first iteration. Implementations in future devices should be better when bugs are worked out. I am only saying this because I have not purchased this version, and will never buy first generation products like this. The idea is good, though.


December 8, 2013, 9:48 pm

True, although I'm still definitely getting the 5S as I desperately in need for an upgrade (still got my 3GS)
I do feel the need to point out that this sounds like something that can easily be solved with an update, if the sensor would go bad in 3 months I would worry, but as a simple re scan solves everything, it sounds like something with the software.

Hamish Campbell

December 9, 2013, 2:33 pm

That is a bizarre bug. I wonder if it has some continual adjustment/learning each time it successfully unlocks...the idea of course being it will improve with accuracy and security over time, but some bug means the accuracy decreases.

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