Even if you love it or hate it, you cannot ignore Face ID at present. After the first release of the iPhone X in 2017, Face ID is currently the only biometric authentication method across the 2018 iPhone and iPad Pro lineup. The fingerprint sensor technology has been used for years, while Face ID is only two-year-olds. So, this new technology is not perfect yet and still has teething issues.

So, in this post, we will show a few common Face ID problems that you might be encountering on your iPhone XS Max.

Solutions To Fix Face ID Not Working On iPhone XS Max

Set up your Face ID properly again

The first recommendation you should try is to set up the Face ID of your phone again and then check if the issue is gone. You can reset your Face ID by heading to Settings > Face ID & passcode, and then resetting Face ID. For further detail:

  • Head over to Settings – > Face ID & Passcode. Enter your passcode when asked.
  • Tap on Set Up Face ID.
  • Now, hold your iPhone in portrait orientation, and place your face in front of your device’s camera, then tap on Get Started.
  • Position your face inside the frame and move your head gently to fill in the circle. If you are not able to move your head, just tap Accessibility Options.
  • After you complete scanning your Face ID, tap on Continue.
  • Move your head gently again to complete the circle for the second time.
  • Tap on Done when you are done.

Now, check if Face ID is already working well. If not, move on to the next solutions.

Disable Attention Awareness

An important thing you should note that Face ID requires you to look at your phone to unlock it. So, if you are not looking at your iPhone, Face ID cannot unlock it. This feature is a bit annoying and increases the overall unlock time. The recommendation here is to disable it in Settings -> Face ID & Passcode. 


Update your iPhone XS Max to the latest iOS version

The next solution you should try is updating your iPhone XS Max to the latest iOS version. When your device runs on the latest update, there will be fewer bugs compared to the previous versions. This is an effective solution if it is caused by a software glitch. To update your iPhone XS Max:

  • Launch Settings app on your Home screen
  • Tap on General > Software Update
  • If you see an update available, just tap on Download & install.

Wait for the process to be done. Your phone will then reboot itself. All you need then is to complete the setup wizard and your iPhone is now running on the latest iOS firmware.

Reset your iPhone to factory defaults

If the Face ID still persists after attempting all the prior methods, then you should think about resetting your iPhone. However, you need to back up your data first before performing these steps below.

  • Plug your iPhone XS Max into the computer with the help of a certificated Lightning cable.
  • Install the latest iTunes version on your computer
  • Once done, launch it and wait for iTunes to recognize your iPhone.
  • Click on your iPhone XS Max icon in the upper left corner.
  • Click the option to back up your iPhone XS Max through iCloud or iTunes on this computer.
  • When done, click on Restore button to start factory resetting your iPhone.
  • When you are prompted, click on Restore again to confirm your action.

Wait until iTunes finishes downloading and installing the latest iOS version (at this time of writing is iOS 12.1.2) on your iPhone XS Max. After that, set up it as new or restore your iPhone from the previous backup.

If Face ID still refuses to work on your iPhone XS Max after trying all the above methods, it can be due to a hardware issue. There are various sensors used by Face ID and it might stop working if your iPhone suffers a serious drop. While your iPhone has not suffered any external damage due to a drop, it does not mean the Face ID is also intact.


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