How to fix Face ID not working on iPhone Xs/Xs Max/Xr

You are trying to set up or use the Face ID on your new iPhone Xs/Xs Max/Xr, but suddenly, there is an error saying that “Face ID is now not available. Please set up Face ID later.” While this is not a widespread problem, it has occurred at some point on many 2018 iPhones due to software errors. If you are also encountering this issue when setting up/using Face ID on your new iPhone, here are some helpful workarounds you can try to rule out errors from the underlying causes. You should refer to this walkthrough before bringing your phone to an Apple Genius bar for a repair or replacement.

Solutions to fix Face ID not working on iPhone Xs/XS Max/ Xr

Solution 1: Reboot and force restart your iPhone

Sometimes, the symptom could just be due to a random glitch on your iPhone’s Face ID system. The simplest way to remove random glitches on your phone is to perform a reboot. It will not affect any saved data in your device internal memory, so it does not require you to back up files beforehand.

To reboot your iPhone Xs/Xs Max/Xr, simply follow these below steps:

  1. Press and hold the Power button for about 5 seconds.
  2. When the Slide to Power Off command appears on your screen, release the button
  3. Drag the slider to the right to power off your phone
  4. After 1 minute, press and hold the Power button again.

After your iPhone boots up, you try to use Face ID to unlock your phone to access the Home screen. If the problem still remains, then you should do a force restart instead. Performing a force restart will get rid of rogue apps and corrupted services that are causing the Face ID system to glitch. To force restart your iPhone, simply do the following steps:

  1. Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  2. Do it the same with the Volume Down button.
  3. Press and hold the Power button until you see Apple logo.

Both these methods can help in clearing cached files from your device internal storage, including corrupted files that might inflict trouble on Face ID system.

Solution 2: Make sure your Face ID is set up properly

The next thing you should do is to check and make sure that you had your Face ID set up properly on your iPhone Xs/Xs Max/XR. Simply follow these steps below to manage Face ID settings on your iPhone:

  1. Launch Settings app from your home screen.
  2. Tap on Face ID & Passcode.
  3. Enable on the features you’re trying to use with Face ID.

After you make the changes, you then restart your iPhone Xs/Xs Max/ Xr. Doing so will clear out cached files from your phone memory, and make things work properly again.

Solution 3: Update your iPhone to the latest iOS version


Updating your phone to the latest IOS version can also be a good solution to fix bugs and errors, especially if the Face ID error is caused by random bugs, system data corruption. Software updates include patch fixes to get rid of the existing bugs causing the system to suddenly go rogue. Connect your iPhone to a Wi-Fi Internet access, then manually check for, and install OTA iOS updates with these steps:

  1. Launch Settings app
  2. Tap on General > Software Update.

If there is an update available, back up your important data first through iCloud or iTunes for safekeeping. After you’re all set, follow the onscreen instructions to download and install the update. Reboot your iPhone after updating the software, then check if that helps to fix the Face ID error.

Solution 4: Reset Face ID and set it up again

If the prior methods could not still help the Face ID to work properly again on your iPhone Xs/Xs Max/XR, you should then reset Face ID and then set it up over again. Doing so will clear out any errant outputs from the previous setup. Once you are all set, simply do the following steps to reset and set up your FaceID again:

  1. Go to Settings-> Face ID & Passcode section.
  2. Tap on Reset Face ID option
  3. Choose Set up Face ID to start the setup.
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions until everything is done.

After you have successfully set up your new Face ID, check if it’s already working. If you have trouble with registering your face, take your iPhone to a local Apple service center so that your iPhone can be checked by a technician.

Also see: How To Fix Charging Problems On iPhone Xs/Xs Max/Xr

Solution 5: Restore your iPhone using iTunes and set up Face ID from the scratch

Among the last resorts that you can consider if all the above methods failed to fix the Face DI issue would be a restore, which will get rid of major system errors. Should you give it a try, and prepare your computer with iTunes installed, iPhone ready, then you simply follow these steps to perform a restore:

  1. Connect your iPhone Xs/Xs Max/Xr to your computer with a certificated Lightning cable.
  2. Once it’s connected, press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  3. Do it the same with the Volume Down button.
  4. Now, press and hold down the Power button as it restarts. Don’t release the button when you see the Apple logo as you need to put your iPhone into a recovery mode.
  5. When you see the Connect to iTunes log, simply release the Power button.
  6. In iTunes, you will now see a message saying that your connected iOS device is now in recovery mode and you are prompted to update or restore your device.
  7. Click on Restore option to erase everything and then restore your iOS device through iTunes.


Wait until the process to complete and it will download and install the latest firmware available on your device. Next, restart iPhone Xs/Xs Max/Xr to refresh and restart the system. Additionally, you can set an alternate appearance in order to make Face ID still recognize you even when you look different. Here’s how to do so:

  1. Head to Settings-> Face ID & Passcode section.
  2. Enter your iPhone passcode, when prompted.
  3. Tap on Set Up an Alternate Appearance option
  4. Look straight into your phone’s front camera and let your face position inside the frame.
  5. Move your head slowly to complete the circle. If you are not able to move your head, tap on Accessibility Options.
  6. When you complete with performing your first Face ID scan, tap on Continue.
  7. Now, complete the circle for the second time and the Face ID setup is already completed.

If none of the methods works, then your iPhone is suffering some sort of physical damage that requires hardware repair. In this case, you should still look into other factors causing Face ID not to work, before opting for service.

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