Top 10 Ways to Fix "Unable to Activate Face ID on this iPhone"

A lot of people have experienced issues with Face ID especially after an iOS 14 update and perhaps one of the most common of these problems is the error message of "Unable to Activate Face ID on this iPhone". This error prevents users from setting up Face ID or using it correctly. In this article, we will take a look at some of the best solutions to this error.

unable to activate face id on this iphone

What Should Be Considered First?

Before we get into more in-depth solutions, it is likely that the problem is caused by the improper use of Face ID and therefore you should consider the following:

1. Make Sure Your Face Can Be Seen Correctly

The TrueDepth Camera on you device has to be able to recognize your face properly. Make sure that your entire face including your eyes, nose and mouth are visible to the camera. Do not wear sunglasses when attempting to set up Face ID and make sure you are in a well-lit room.

2. Make Sure Nothing is On the Camera

At the same time, you need to make sure that nothing is covering the camera. If the device has a screen protector or case, remove it before attempting to set up Face ID. You should also clean the camera to remove any dust or dirt that could be obscuring the camera.

3. Make Sure the iPhone Is No Further than Arm's Length

The iPhone has to be close enough to your face to adequately capture your Face's details for Face ID working correctly. The device shouldn't be further than arm's length and also make sure that there is adequate light on your face.

Top 7 Solutions for Unable to Activate Face ID on This iPhone

If you are certain you're using the camera correctly, but you are still unable to activate Face ID on your iPhone, try the following solutions:

1. Turn Off and Turn On Face ID

This is one of the simplest solutions for any issues you may have with Face ID. It refreshes the feature and may just get it to start working normally again. Here's how to do it:

Step 1: Open the Settings on your device and then go to "Face ID & Passcode".

Step 2: Go to "Face ID" and then toggle "iPhone Unlock" option.

turn off and turn on face id

Wait but a minute and then turn it on again.

2. Put iPhone in Portrait Orientation

You may also want to put the device in portrait mode to allow the camera to properly "see" your face. At the same time, make sure there is adequate lighting.

3. Reboot iPhone

Rebooting your iPhone is also a great way to refresh the device and may even get Face ID working normally again. Here's how to reboot the iPhone:

For iPhone 8 and later models: Tap and release the volume up button and then do the same with the volume down button. Then press and hold the power button until the Apple Logo appears on the screen.

For iPhone 7 and 7 plus: Press and hold the power and the volume down button until you see the Apple Logo on the screen.

For iPhone 6 and earlier models: Press and hold the power and the home button until the Apple logo appears.

turn off and turn on iphone

4. Reset Face ID

You can also try to reset Face ID to remove any settings that could be causing the feature to fail. Here's how to do it;

Step 1: Open Settings on your device and Tap on "Face ID & Passcode".

Step 2: You may need to enter the current passcode on the device.

Step 3: Scroll to the bottom and tap on "Reset Face ID".

reset face id on iphone

5. Reset All Settings

If resetting the Face ID settings doesn't work, try resetting all the settings on the device. Follow these simple steps to do it:

Step 1: Open Settings and then tap "General".

Step 2: Tap "Reset" and then tap "Reset all Settings".

Step 3: Enter the passcode when prompted to complete the process.

reset all settings iphone

6. Fix Unable to Activate Face ID on This iPhone without Data Loss

This problem is often an indication of a problem with the iOS system and therefore requires a solution that will fix the iOS system itself. The best tool to do that is FoneGeek iOS System Recovery. This tool can be used to repair the iOS system, fixing various common iOS issues including issues with Face ID. The following are just some of the program's features:

  • This tool can be useful in the repair of very many different iOS issues including Face ID issues like this one, an iPhone stuck in the Apple Logo, a device stuck in recovery mode and many other iOS related issues.
  • It has a 100% success rate and is very easy to use, allowing users to fix a device in just a few clicks.
  • When using its exclusive technology to repair the device, the data on the device remains intact.


To use FoneGeek iOS System Recovery to fix Face ID issues, download and install the program on to your computer and then follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Launch the program and then connect the device to the computer using USB cables. Click on "Repair Operating System" in the home screen.

repiar operating system

Step 2: The program will detect it and then provide different firmware for the device. Select one and then click "Download".

download firmware

Step 3: The program will immediately begin repairing the device. As soon as the repair process is complete, the device will restart and you should have no problems setting up Face ID.


7. Update iOS Version

An iOS 14 update also often has bug fixes that can help fix issues such as this one. To update the iOS on your iPhone, follow these simple steps;

Step 1: Connect the device to a reliable Wi-Fi network and then go to Settings > General > Software Update.

Step 2: If an update is available, tap Download and Install > Install and then enter your passcode.

update ios firmware

If you keep getting a message of "Unable to Activate Face ID on this iPhone" every time you try to set up or use Face ID on your device, then the solutions above may be able to help. Choose a solution and then follow the instructions as much as you can to implement it. You can share your results with us in the comments section below. We also welcome any questions you may have.


By Joan J. Mims

Posted on Oct 10, 2019, 22:23:29

Joan J. Mims is interested in researching all tips about iPhone, iPad and Android. He loves to share useful ideas with all users.