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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > M1 MBA - Fingerprint Reader Unusable

M1 MBA - Fingerprint Reader Unusable
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ghporter
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Sep 6, 2022, 10:20 AM
 
The fingerprint reader on my wife’s M1 MBA is essentially useless. It will read her print for a short time after she redoes that print, but a few hours later, it rejects all attempts.

The biometric feature was supposed to be a big selling point of this model. I think it should “just work,” like everything Apple. But it doesn’t.

Any tips, hints or guidance on fixing this very frustrating (for both me and my wife) problem would be greatly appreciated.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Spheric Harlot
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Sep 6, 2022, 01:34 PM
 
AppleCare. There is no reason why it shouldn't be flawless. Fingerprint readers have worked fine on all Macs since 2016.
     
ghporter  (op)
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Sep 7, 2022, 10:31 AM
 
Thanks. I wasn’t sure if there was something about software that might be messing things up, or some setting that I didn’t know about.

Is this a Genius Bar issue? I hope so…

We will figure out when, in our copious free time, to get that Genius Bar appointment.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Spheric Harlot
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Sep 7, 2022, 12:18 PM
 
perhaps try to set up a different user? But it really doesn't sound like a software issue — the secure enclave isn't software-controlled, anyway.

The machine is all up-to-date?
     
ghporter  (op)
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Sep 8, 2022, 02:35 PM
 
As far as I know it’s up to date.

I have set up another user (me) on that machine, and it usually lets me log in with my fingerprint just once, right after I’ve recorded the fingerprint.

I think I’ll delete all the prints and redo them to see if we just hadn’t captured them well. We’ll make sure we have clean, dry, hydrated hands before we do the new prints.

Related note: fingerprints are dependent on how well hydrated your skin is. If you’re too dry, the prints sort of flatten out. In my professional role, I’d work with patients who thought they had a weak grip because they would drop very smooth things; once I got them to use a good hand lotion, their prints plumped up, and suddenly they didn’t drop stuff.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
reader50
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Sep 8, 2022, 03:49 PM
 
You could also try the old standby: reinstall the OS. That's been known to fix a lot of weird issues that defy diagnostics.
     
ghporter  (op)
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Sep 9, 2022, 10:02 AM
 
I want to go with the simpler, quicker angles first. It seems that there’s a lot of online chatter about Touch ID, including with the M1 Macs. We’re going to thoroughly clean the sensor, delete the current prints, and enroll several fingers for each of us. And we’ll record when we enroll them, as well as if/when which fingers fail.

If the clean/re-enroll thing fixes the issue, at least for a while, I think we’ll be OK with it. But if the machine continues to fail to recognize fingerprints, we’ll have specific data to give Apple. While I’d REALLY like to not have to either reinstall the OS or take it to a Genius Bar (or worse, send it in), my wife deserves a Mac that “just works,” and one way or another we’ll get there.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
   
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