How to reset Touch ID on a MacBook

Touch ID has been added to Macs. A MacBook has a dedicated ‘key’ that reads your fingerprint while users with an iMac will need the right Apple Keyboard model if they want to use Touch ID with it. Face ID hasn’t been added as a security tool on Macs yet.

Touch ID on MacBook

Touch ID on a MacBook works more or less the same as it did on older iPhone models that had the feature. You can save up to three fingerprints that can be used to unlock your MacBook. Like the iPhone, you can use Touch ID to unlock your Mac but if it fails to recognize a fingerprint 3-5 times, you will need to use your account password to enable Touch ID again. If you haven’t logged into your Mac for quite a while or you’ve restarted the system, you will again have to use the password instead of Touch ID.

Barring the above niche cases, Touch ID should work without any problems however, if it repeatedly fails to recognize a fingerprint, you should reset it.

Reset Touch ID on MacBook

To reset the Touch ID on a MacBook, follow these steps.

Open System Preferences.
Go to Touch ID.
Hover the mouse cursor over one of the saved Touch ID prints.

Click the close button.
Enter the password for your account.
Repeat for all saved fingerprints.
Touch ID will be reset.

Once you reset Touch ID, you will have to add the fingerprints back in order for it to work. 

Click the empty Touch ID slot with the plus icon.
Press your finger on the Touch ID sensor.
Lift and place it again.
Once it’s been added, give it a name.
Repeat for two other fingerprints that you want to save.


Touch ID can run into problems and a reset is a quick solution. Make sure the sensor is clean. Much like any other key on a keyboard, the Touch ID can build up grime and it should be cleaned. You should also make sure that when you’re saving a new fingerprint to Touch ID, that the sensor is clean. Lastly, if you cannot get Touch ID to work, and it won’t record a fingerprint when you’re trying to set it up, it’s possible that there is hardware damage. You can try an SMC reset on your MacBook but if that doesn’t work, you will have to take the device in for a check up. The repair might be simple or you might need the keyboard panel replaced.