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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > iPhone, iPad & iPod > TIP: How to train Touch ID to recognize more of your finger

TIP: How to train Touch ID to recognize more of your finger
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Clinically Insane
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Oct 22, 2013, 05:36 PM
 
"TIP"…hur hur see what I did there?

It has been suggested that people register the same finger in two of the 5 finger slots to speed up identification and reduce rejections.

That's just a waste of a slot.

Touch ID will unlock as soon as it reads enough of a known print to positively identify the finger.
It will add the previously unknown areas to the profile, to give a more complete map of the finger, improving its accuracy and speed in daily use.


However, you can also TRAIN Touch ID:

Go into the System Settings —> General —> Touch ID & Passcode —> Touch ID

If you now place your finger on the sensor, the slot that the finger is registered to will flash. If you move your finger a tiny bit every time (wait for it to flash), you can dramatically increase the recognized area. My thumb is now recognized almost from the nail down to the crook of the joint.

The training isn't documented because Touch ID learns "on the job" and improves its accuracy by doing the same thing over time, but it works.
     
Clinically Insane
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Oct 22, 2013, 06:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
That's just a waste of a slot.
I'd make a comment about how you can fill your slot, but that would lack class.
     
Clinically Insane
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Oct 22, 2013, 07:12 PM
 
Just the tip, dear.
     
Clinically Insane
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Oct 22, 2013, 07:28 PM
 
Then two slots it is!
     
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Nov 8, 2013, 03:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
"TIP"…hur hur see what I did there?

However, you can also TRAIN Touch ID:

Go into the System Settings —> General —> Touch ID & Passcode —> Touch ID

If you now place your finger on the sensor, the slot that the finger is registered to will flash. If you move your finger a tiny bit every time (wait for it to flash), you can dramatically increase the recognized area. My thumb is now recognized almost from the nail down to the crook of the joint.

The training isn't documented because Touch ID learns "on the job" and improves its accuracy by doing the same thing over time, but it works.
Fascinating! How did you discover this? So this is an accelerated form of training? If recognition is supposed to improve with daily use, how do you explain the observations of many who find that the accuracy of TouchID decreases over time?
     
Clinically Insane
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Nov 8, 2013, 03:57 PM
 
Poor QC.
     
Mac Enthusiast
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Nov 9, 2013, 04:24 AM
 
I had some serious trouble with the iPhone struggling to recognise my prints.
This happened when I spent several days working with timber and power tools. After a few days my fingers began to be recognised again.
First one, then another and I'd like to tell you the rest came back, but I smashed my iPhone screen and had to get it replaced.

More strangely on an earlier occasion, within a week of first setting up touch id, my phone literally forgot all of my fingerprints.
It wasn't failing to recognise them, but instead was displaying no fingerprints in the settings as though I had never bothered to add them.
     
Clinically Insane
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Nov 9, 2013, 05:26 AM
 
Originally Posted by Le Flaneur View Post
Fascinating! How did you discover this? So this is an accelerated form of training? If recognition is supposed to improve with daily use, how do you explain the observations of many who find that the accuracy of TouchID decreases over time?
I can't explain that. It doesn't mirror my experience.

It *can* be a little iffy at times, especially with moist fingers (this goes for every touch sensor, though, including trackpads), but on the whole, recognition and sensitivity have not decreased.
     
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Nov 9, 2013, 09:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I can't explain that. It doesn't mirror my experience.

It *can* be a little iffy at times, especially with moist fingers (this goes for every touch sensor, though, including trackpads), but on the whole, recognition and sensitivity have not decreased.
Have they stayed the same? What I’m beginning to realize is that there is an area of my thumb (the fleshy part, which is what one is supposed to use!) seems to pose repeated problems for the sensor. It's clean and not wet, though.
     
Clinically Insane
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Nov 9, 2013, 10:24 AM
 
I'm not seeing a difference.

To be fair, Touch ID has been far enough in the "it just works" territory from the start that I've never worried about it.
     
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Nov 9, 2013, 12:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Le Flaneur View Post
Have they stayed the same? What I’m beginning to realize is that there is an area of my thumb (the fleshy part, which is what one is supposed to use!) seems to pose repeated problems for the sensor. It's clean and not wet, though.
Ahem... Try using a second slot where your initial touch point is that fleshy part of the thumb. Works fantastically for me.
     
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Nov 9, 2013, 02:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I'm not seeing a difference.
To be fair, Touch ID has been far enough in the "it just works" territory from the start that I've never worried about it.
What fascinates me is how divergent the experiences of different users are. Some people are having no problems, yet for others TouchID is a nightmare.

As for me, I was fairly confident yesterday after having extensively trained the TouchID system using your suggestion, but this morning, after taking a shower, I'm seeing a success rate below 50% on three different fingers. And now over 4 hours have elapsed since the shower.

Is the technology not mature (but sure it is -- fingerprint ID has been around for quite some time), or is the particular sensor used extremely sensitive to different types of skin? Or is there a problem with quality control in the production of this particular sensor?
     
Clinically Insane
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Nov 9, 2013, 03:48 PM
 
QC wasn't quite right. I couldn't think of the term I needed and went with the next best thing.

"Yield" was what I was looking for. The technology works fine, they're just not getting enough yield out of their fabrication process. The choice becomes constrain supply more, or let some of the dodgier scanners though.

I swear to you, my scanner, with two slots for my dominant thumb, works close to flawlessly. One failure per 100+ uses.
     
Clinically Insane
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Nov 9, 2013, 03:53 PM
 
I should also note that along with the considerable leeway Geniuses are given to give you a free replacement just for the good PR, they are in fact directed to hoover up problematic launch hardware and send it back to the mothership for analysis.

If you can demonstrate this to a Genius I'd be very surprised if they didn't fork over a new model.
     
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Nov 12, 2013, 10:22 AM
 
After the last update I had a problem with it recognizing my print - it was a consistent reproducible issue where if the phone was unused for more than 15 minutes it wouldn't recognize my prints upon scanning. Unlocking it would render the next scans successful if done within 15 minutes. After 15, no luck. Odd.

What I did was delete the existing scans then rescanned everything- it's been flawless ever since, zero fails.
     
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Nov 13, 2013, 07:54 AM
 
I have found "odd" things when I've updated the OS on several different iPhones, including Bluetooth pairings that weren't really transferred, and so on. So I just expect that something like that will need re-doing when I run an update. I'm still surprised that fingerprint scans didn't migrate for you, because to me that "feels" like the same thing as your security code.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
   
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