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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > iPhone, iPad & iPod > Slowly Deteriorating Touch ID

Slowly Deteriorating Touch ID
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Clinically Insane
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Jan 24, 2014, 04:45 PM
 
For me, it had become worse than useless. I forgot who suggested wiping the stored prints and reentering them, but that worked like a charm.

My guess is the "recognition improvement" algorithm gets overloaded with data at some point and gets some form of paralysis.
     
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Jan 25, 2014, 08:23 AM
 
I was going to suggest physically cleaning the sensor on a regular basis, but that might actually worsen the "improvement algorithm overload" problem.

I assume this is a problem common with the iPhone 5s. Which leads me to believe that "maybe Apple should tweak the code" (or otherwise take action) to shift from "improving" the sensor's performance to "optimizing" the sensor's identification of a single user.

Whatever; I'm glad you got the issue sorted, but I think it's bad that you have to essentially do regular software maintenance on your iTouch. That's counter to Apple principles.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
subego  (op)
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Jan 25, 2014, 02:46 PM
 
Very much so, but also totally in character with the OS this time around.

If the rumors of the bigger iPhones pan out, it makes more sense why Apple bit off such a huge bite with iOS 7. They're laying the groundwork for resolution independence.
     
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Jan 25, 2014, 03:04 PM
 
I've found that briefly wiping the sensor and/or my fingertip will work every time.

It doesn't seem to like moisture, for one.
     
subego  (op)
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Jan 25, 2014, 03:30 PM
 
It consistently has trouble immediately after I wash my hands.

There's evidence this is a different situation though. There was a short phase before I reset where the right thumb was working about one time in 10. After three or four failures, rather than put in my passcode (because that is for animals), I'd go left thumb and it would work. Until this point, I almost never used the left thumb. Maybe one time in 1,000.

So, the clues are:

1) Never used print works fine
2) Always used print is useless
3) TouchID adds to its fingerprint database as you use it

Probable solution: Colonel Cook, in the iOS team leader's office, with a milestone.
( Last edited by subego; Jan 25, 2014 at 05:41 PM. )
     
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Jan 25, 2014, 09:20 PM
 
Yes, it's gotten useless for me as well. I have already wiped my prints and redid them. It still performs worse than in the beginning.

My latest attempt is to train the same finger TWICE. It's been going better so far.

I'm pretty sure something is wrong with iOS 7. It just shouldn't get worse over time.

-t
     
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Jan 25, 2014, 09:27 PM
 
When winter hit I noticed the reads got very inconsistent. Rather than trying to retrain it, I just registered my fingers as if they were additional fingers--keeping the originals, setting up another couple in finger slots 3-4.

Perfect ever since.
     
subego  (op)
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Jan 26, 2014, 01:47 PM
 
There was winter overlap too. I wondered how much this got tested outside Israel and Cali.
     
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Jan 30, 2014, 04:29 PM
 
Now it's getting sucktastic again. There goes that theory.

Winter theory still goes disproven, though.
     
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Jan 30, 2014, 09:17 PM
 
Don't retrain, enter as new prints.
     
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Jan 30, 2014, 09:38 PM
 
I entered my thumb 3 times as new prints in the last 4 weeks. What gives...

-t
     
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Jan 31, 2014, 05:07 AM
 
It's a little spotty, here. It can't be training, because it's instantaneous most of the time, and then, sometimes, it just won't take. An hour later — perfect recognition of all fingers.

Overall still very happy with this - yet.
     
subego  (op)
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Jan 31, 2014, 03:13 PM
 
It seems to have cycles for me too. It'll work fine, then not.

I'm not unhappy, per se, but it went from "holy shit feature" to "v1.0".
     
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Jan 31, 2014, 04:22 PM
 
I can only post my own experience, but its been working flawlessly for me for over two months now. I occasionally get a "try again," but that's when I'm holding my finger at a very odd angle.

I've seen elsewhere where someone suggested you wash your hands and set your preferred fingers (maybe 2 fingers) ... then get your hands a bit dirty (normal oil/sweat I mean) and set them again as three and four. I haven't needed to do it (I have a woman's hands, m'lord, and rarely get them anything more than greasy), but maybe that would help some of you other guys who are having the issue.
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Jan 31, 2014, 04:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
It consistently has trouble immediately after I wash my hands.

There's evidence this is a different situation though. There was a short phase before I reset where the right thumb was working about one time in 10. After three or four failures, rather than put in my passcode (because that is for animals), I'd go left thumb and it would work. Until this point, I almost never used the left thumb. Maybe one time in 1,000.

So, the clues are:

1) Never used print works fine
2) Always used print is useless
3) TouchID adds to its fingerprint database as you use it
This is precisely my experience too.

I reenter my most used digit about once a month.
Chris. T.
"... in 6 months if WMD are found, I hope all clear-thinking people who opposed the war will say "You're right, we were wrong -- good job". Similarly, if after 6 months no WMD are found, people who supported the war should say the same thing -- and move to impeach Mr. Bush." - moki, 04/16/03
     
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Jan 31, 2014, 04:41 PM
 
I just wish you could set a brief period where you didn't have to re-unlock your phone, like you can with a more typical passcode. Sometimes I lock my 5S only to find out 10 seconds later that there was something else I needed to do. With all the Touch ID issues I have, it would be the bee's knees to not have to go through all the hassle of unlocking my phone if I literally *just* locked it.
"Yields a falsehood when preceded by its quotation" yields a falsehood when preceded by its quotation.
     
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Jan 31, 2014, 05:09 PM
 
It works for me about a day. Even if I train multiple fingers. Then it doesn't.

Touch ID, for me anyway, is useless.
     
subego  (op)
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Jan 31, 2014, 05:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
I can only post my own experience, but its been working flawlessly for me for over two months now. I occasionally get a "try again," but that's when I'm holding my finger at a very odd angle.

I've seen elsewhere where someone suggested you wash your hands and set your preferred fingers (maybe 2 fingers) ... then get your hands a bit dirty (normal oil/sweat I mean) and set them again as three and four. I haven't needed to do it (I have a woman's hands, m'lord, and rarely get them anything more than greasy), but maybe that would help some of you other guys who are having the issue.
Florida?

This lends credence to the theory this wasn't tested in places with actual weather.
     
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Jan 31, 2014, 06:26 PM
 
So Steve Gibson from GRC found out how to fix this problem, and to make Touch ID incredibly accurate. It is outline perfectly simply in this youtube video: How to Overtrain Apple's Touch ID: Security Now 440 - YouTube

I heard about this on Security Now! on the TWiT network.

Hope this helps!
     
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Feb 1, 2014, 01:01 AM
 
I'm not sure that this is a solution.

I actually overtrained my thumb that way back in October.
Nonetheless, in Jan, TouchID became so bad that I deleted all prints and started over.

So, there are factors beyond overtraining that kill effective recognition.

-t
( Last edited by turtle777; Feb 1, 2014 at 08:42 PM. )
     
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Feb 1, 2014, 09:50 AM
 
My first imprint started to 'fade' (metaphorically) and became unusable after about a week.

Tried again, cleared everything. Second imprint also faded after about a week.

Third imprint, for some reason is going strong for a month now at least. No noticeable fade.

Maybe the quality of imprint matters and it's a random outcome of the imprinting process algorithm. Who knows what affects it? --The condition of your finger at the time, the position of the various fingerprint snapshots taken during imprinting, the ambient temperature and humidity.

My best advice is keep trying until you get an imprint that takes.

Sorry for my made up terminology.
     
subego  (op)
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Feb 1, 2014, 07:54 PM
 
What's even more obnoxious is every now and again the sensor refuses to acknowledge my fingers are even fingers.

No "try again". Nothing.
     
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Feb 2, 2014, 09:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by jpdalamar View Post
So Steve Gibson from GRC found out how to fix this problem, and to make Touch ID incredibly accurate. It is outline perfectly simply in this youtube video: How to Overtrain Apple's Touch ID: Security Now 440 - YouTube

I heard about this on Security Now! on the TWiT network.

Hope this helps!
Yeah, it sure did. My right middle finger gradually erodes, and I've retrained it a couple of times over the past few months. I just tried this technique and now my rt middle gets a hit every single time. (It was a challenge to get even the first hit when I started this, but gradually it got better & better.)
     
subego  (op)
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Feb 2, 2014, 10:07 PM
 
Because Leo's a dick, I stopped watching Security Now. Can someone provide a summary?


I have the feeling I did this soon after getting my iPhone. With two slots on my main print (right thumb). It still ended up dying. The first indications were in November, when the weather started getting cold.
     
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Feb 3, 2014, 06:18 AM
 
It's just an extremely long-winded and terribly unwatchable version of what I discovered back in October.

http://forums.macnn.com/103/iphone-i...-id-recognize/
     
subego  (op)
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Feb 3, 2014, 06:33 AM
 
Unwatchable compared to other shows about computer security?
     
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Feb 3, 2014, 07:15 AM
 
Six minutes of barely relevant (if that) meandering from a guy who just isn't a good speaker for twenty seconds of content?

How does that compare? I don't watch shows about computer security, but if the subject were relevant to me, I would probably be pressed for time and just as annoyed to have it wasted.
     
subego  (op)
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Feb 3, 2014, 04:10 PM
 
If you're in a hurry, then computer security isn't for you. The shit's complicated.

Seriously, this is both the bane and boon of "new media". The normal paradigm is a show about computer security isn't done by the best computer security guy, it's by a TV guy who knows something about security.

Steve isn't a TV guy, but he knows his security. If the goods are important to you, he's got them.

Without seeing it, my guess as to the problem is Steve often thinks he's figured out some big mystery. For weeks he pimped he had found the secret to good health. It was a low-carb diet. We'd all kinda heard of that. He's a body-hacker, so he had interesting tidbits to add, but I felt like "I wasted an hour for this?" at the end.

OTOH, he invented (or if he wasn't the first, the only to public domain it) the SQRL system, which should eliminate user IDs and passwords for websites. This will not only make logging in much easier, and stop normies from using "12345" as passwords, it eliminates the website needing to store the password. The site gets hacked, there are no passwords to steal.

This is slick enough you don't care if the guy meanders.
     
subego  (op)
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Feb 14, 2014, 02:58 AM
 
I wonder how it'd do if it needed to read this side of my thumb.




OMFG! People will totally steal my print now!
     
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Feb 14, 2014, 04:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Whatever; I'm glad you got the issue sorted, but I think it's bad that you have to essentially do regular software maintenance on your iTouch. That's counter to Apple principles.
Apple neither makes a product nor a feature that Apple calls "iTouch."
     
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Feb 14, 2014, 05:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by DCJ001 View Post
Apple neither makes a product nor a feature that Apple calls "iTouch."
I always cringe when people refer to their iPod Touch as iTouch.

-t
     
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Feb 14, 2014, 07:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by DCJ001 View Post
Apple neither makes a product nor a feature that Apple calls "iTouch."
I know that. I'm trying to figure out why I typed that, since the OP didn't mention that he was dealing with an iPod Touch (and I think he's talking about an iPhone 5s). In any case, I appreciate your tact in pointing out my error.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
subego  (op)
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Feb 14, 2014, 08:07 PM
 
We're talking about TouchID. I'm guessing that's where it came from.
     
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Feb 15, 2014, 10:32 AM
 
Most likely. And noting the time I posted it, I was likely in a rush.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 3, 2014, 12:35 AM
 
I'm so used to it ****ing up now, it will work, I'll have an unlocked phone, but I'll keep tapping the home key going "unlock, dammit!"

Contrast that with my initial few months, where it worked so well I stopped seeing the lock screen. My thumb had unlocked it as I was getting it out of my pocket.
     
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Mar 3, 2014, 06:54 AM
 
AI posted a few days ago that an iOS update is in the works to fix touchid deterioration. It stinks our fixes haven't held up for yours.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 3, 2014, 06:30 PM
 
About freaking time.
     
subego  (op)
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Mar 12, 2014, 09:33 PM
 
My brief experience with 7.1 is it's working again, but it's slower.
     
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Mar 13, 2014, 02:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
My brief experience with 7.1 is it's working again, but it's slower.
Touch ID stopped working for me - I had to redo my thumb 2-3 times a week. After the recent update it's been great.

May I suggest you do a rescan of your thumb - use two touch ID slots so you have two for the one thumb, my thumb is pretty chewed up/rough too but not as bad (damn what do you do with that thing?)
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 12, 2014, 08:16 PM
 
After more extensive use, I'd say it's close to its former glory. Moisture still throws it, but I'm returning to the point where I rarely see the lock screen.
     
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Apr 12, 2014, 08:30 PM
 
I still see it in about 1 out of 10 attempts.
Completely deleted the old prints and started from scratch.

It's much better than before the update, but nowhere near as good as in the beginning.

Moisture (even a little bit) makes it miss way too much.

-t
     
subego  (op)
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Apr 12, 2014, 08:44 PM
 
I'm definitely having better luck. Not counting moisture, which is mostly after I wash my hands, I'm having failures in the 1 in 50 to 1 in 100 range.

1 in 100+ was my failure rate out of the box.
     
   
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