How to Disable Touch ID on iPhone & iPad

Jun 9, 2016 - 3 Comments

Disable Touch ID on iPhone and iPad

Touch ID is an undeniably convenient feature of the iPhone and iPad, allowing quick access to the device simply by placing a registered finger on the Touch ID sensor, which reads the fingerprint to gain access. While Touch ID is useful, some users may later decide they want to disable the feature on their iPhone or iPad, whether for security or privacy purposes, or for another reason.


Note this method completely disables Touch ID if desired, but you also can specify to turn off Touch ID for unlocking the iPhone or iPad, turning off Touch ID for Apple Pay, and disabling Touch ID for App Store and iTunes purchases as well, or choose to leave it on for some functions while disabling it for others. Note that if you disable all forms of Touch ID, you may want to remove fingerprints from Touch ID as well, though that is not mandatory to simply turn off the feature.

How to Disable Touch ID for Unlock & Purchases

If you are going to disable Touch ID completely, or even just disable it to unlock and access the device, be sure you have enabled a passcode in iOS to prevent unauthorized access.

  1. Open the “Settings” app on the iPhone or iPad
  2. iOS Settings icon

  3. Go to “Touch ID & Passcode” and authenticate with your passcode as usual
  4. Under the ‘Use Touch ID for:’ section, flip the switches as necessary to turn off Touch ID (turn it off for all settings if you want to completely disable the feature):
    • iPhone Unlock (or iPad Unlock) – turn this off to disable Touch ID to unlock and access the device
    • Apple Pay – toggle off to prevent Touch ID being used for making Apple Pay purchases
    • iTunes & App Store – toggle this off to disable Touch ID being used for App Store and iTunes purchases

    Disable Touch ID on iPhone

  5. Insure that you have enabled a pass code and are using one, then exit out of Settings as usual

If you’re turning off Touch ID because you find it to be unreliable, you may want to just go through the process of adding another fingerprint or two. This is particularly true if you’re having weather related issues, try adding additional fingerprints of the same finger, which can greatly improve performance in cold weather where skin gets dry, and in humid weather too. You can also remove fingerprints if you no longer use a specific digit or appendage to unlock the device as well.

Touch ID

Don’t forget that you can always reverse course on the iPhone or iPad and setup Touch ID for unlocking again if you decide to use the fingerprint authentication again in the future.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Security, Tips & Tricks

3 Comments

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  1. mediabob says:

    “…some users may later decide they want to disable the feature on their iPhone or iPad, whether for security or privacy purposes, or for another reason.”

    It would be helpful to know some of the reasons. Is this feature unreliable in some way that’s not immediately apparent?

  2. Tim says:

    The main reason I want to disable both TouchID as well as Passcode is because i want KIDS to use the ipad. Anybody who walks in the door should be able to use this electronic fun pad. Don’t want them buying apps or reading your emails? Easy: Don’t log in to icloud or google on it, period.

    Also, pretty glad I’m not in a country making laws about who can and can’t unlock your device (well, not yet: Give it 20 years for them to catch up).

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