How to Add Fingerprints to Touch ID on Mac

Dec 21, 2016 - 12 Comments

Add new fingerprint to Touch ID on Mac

You can add additional fingerprints to Touch ID equipped Macs, providing the option for more than one fingerprint to unlock the Mac, be used for Apple Pay, and to make purchases from the iTunes and App Store.

Obviously the ability to add a new fingerprint to Touch ID on the Mac requires a Mac with a Touch ID sensor within the Touch Bar, currently limited to the newest model MacBook Pro but which will likely roll out to other Mac hardware and perhaps even with an Apple external keyboard in the future.

How to Add Additional Fingerprints to Touch ID on Mac

  1. Go to the  Apple menu and choose “System Preferences”
  2. Select “Touch ID” from the options
  3. Choose “Add a Fingerprint”
  4. Add fingerprint to Touch ID on Mac

  5. Rest the new finger (or toe or other body part…) on the Touch ID sensor and tap a few times following the onscreen instructions
  6. When the fingerprint sensor is filled out and it says “Touch ID is Ready” click on “Done” to add that fingerprint to Touch ID on the Mac
  7. Add new fingerprint to Touch ID on Mac

  8. Optionally, repeat the process with an additional fingerprint

Currently, the Mac allows you to add up to three different fingerprints to Touch ID.

Adding additional fingerprints is convenient, but it can also be helpful to add the same fingerprint more than once on the Mac just like doing so can improve the reliability of unlocking Touch ID on iPhone and iPad, particularly during different seasons where a skin may be more dry or moist.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Jeff Walton says:

    It’s been over 4 years since the last comment. While touch ID works for me, I would like to add more than 3 fingerprints. Is there a way to do that yet?

  2. Imre Szabó says:

    I have just checked in help, the correct resolution is “You can add up to three fingerprints per user account (your Mac can store up to five fingerprints total)”
    Which is a bit few in my opinion, I’ve got a machine shared between my 4 people family members, so everyone can set one single fingerprint +1 more, which is much less than enough.

    • Ted says:


      If you chop off everyones fingers but 1, 4 fingerprints will be more than enough. Sheesh, do I need to think of everything for you people?

      Also, sharing 1 computer among 4 people is a great way to transfer germs and have everyone get sick!

  3. Imre Szabó says:

    On my MBP I can set only 3 fingerprints, not 5. Are you sure macOS allows 5 fingerprints?

  4. Aaron says:

    It’s absolutely ridiculous that Fingerprint ID is not available on my up-to-date iMac. My wife knows nothing about computers. She likes to chat with her sister in Europe each week. I would like to see what Siri and Fingerprint ID could do for her being able to power up, go on line without assistance,and chat.

    • Ted says:


      Don’t be so frickin cheap. Buy the little bride a new MacBook with the fingerprint reader. If she still can’t turn it on by herself, dump her.

      How do you expect to have fingerprint ID on your iMac when it does not have the reader on it.

      Stick yer finger up yer butt and try that. It might work!

  5. Frau Katze says:

    I tried to set up Touch ID on my iPhone. I wasn’t optimistic.

    Several years ago I applied for a job that required me to be finger printed. I was surprised when a few days later, I was called and told that I’d have to come back and do it again.

    I asked the person who was doing it what went wrong. He said, nothing, just some people have skin that leaves poor fingerprints, and I was one of them. You can barely the swirls of the print.

    When I tried to set it up on the iPhone, it kept asking to press it over and over. Finally it said I had succeeded in making it happy.

    But every time I try to use it, it says “try again.” On the second fail, I have to enter a code.

    I am delaying upgrading the iPad because of this. It seems I MUST either get the fingerprint thing to work or enter a code. That will be a major pain in the neck on the iPad, that I use several hours a day.

    I use it at home. I’m retired. There is very little requirement for this extra code.

    I’m going to have type in an extra code every time the screen goes into low power mode. All because my skin leaves poor fingerprints. Not happy.

    • OWEN says:

      You can also use your nose, toes, knuckles, dog foot, cat foot, etc. But the iPhone fingerprint reader is different from Fingerprint Touch ID on Mac, so you cant use your iPhone to unlock your Mac, you have to use each for each.

      Touch ID is helpful, but I add a few fingerprints for each to be sure. I wonder if it will come to the Mac keyboard.

    • Neil Maller says:

      @Frau Katze: You do not have to activate the fingerprint recognition on their iPhone or iPad (or new MacBook Pro, for that matter).

      For instance I have activated fingerprint recognition on my iPhone because it’s needed for ApplePay, but my wife, who doesn’t use ApplePay, has not on hers.

      • Frau Katze says:

        No, I agree, I don’t have to set it up. But if don’t I’m forced to create a passcode that I then have to keep typing in. I see no reason why I need this.

    • Dan Uff says:

      I have a few friends that also have problems with the TouchID (including me). So you’re not the only one.

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