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How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

By now we’re all familiar with Touch ID, the fingerprint authentication security feature introduced with Apple’s iPhone 5s in 2013. The iPhone X replaces Touch ID with a facial recognition system, Face ID, which can be used to unlock your phone, open apps, make purchases in iTunes, and more. Biometric authentication protects our phones, but also introduces new privacy concerns by leaving iPhone users open to the possibility of criminals stealing data or law enforcement accessing it without a warrant. If you have even a few seconds notice before a robbery or unlawful search, you can discreetly and temporarily disable Touch and Face ID on your iPhone; let’s learn how.

How to Temporarily Disable Touch ID or Face ID on Your iPhone

For iPhones 5s – 7

  • Click the Sleep/Wake button quickly five times.

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

  • The Power Off/SOS Screen pops up, tap the cancel button.

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

Word of warning: Check your settings before using this tip. If you have something called Auto Call enabled, tapping the Sleep/Wake button five times rapidly will call 911!

  • Tap on Settings.
  • Scroll down to Emergency SOS and tap to open.
  • Scroll down and check your Auto Call option. If you want to be able to use the disable Touch ID tip without calling 911, toggle this off.
  • If you want to leave Auto Call on, scroll down and make sure that the Countdown Sound option is toggled on—this will give you a siren-like warning letting you know 911 is about to be dialed.

For iPhones 8 – X

Hold the Side Button and the volume button down at the same time, for three to five seconds.

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

  • The Power Off/SOS screen appears, tap the cancel button

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

Word of warning: Check your settings before using this tip. If you have something called Auto Call enabled, holding the side button and the volume up or down button will call 911!

  • Tap on Settings.
  • Scroll down to Emergency SOS and tap to open.
  • Scroll down and check your Auto Call option. If you want to be able to use the disable Face ID tip without calling 911, toggle this off.
  • If you want to leave Auto Call on, scroll down and make sure that the Countdown Sound option is toggled on—this will give you a siren-like warning letting you know 911 is about to be dialed.

Hopefully you’ll never be in a situation where you need to use this tip. But if you must, your biometric authentication features will be disabled, and won’t function again until you’ve entered your passcode in the passcode screen. Just remember, your device is replaceable, but you aren’t! Take precautions ahead of time and make sure you don’t have sensitive data easily accessible on your phone, back up your photos often, and play it safe out there, kids.

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How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

Author Details

Leanne Hays

Leanne Hays is an SEO Content Strategist and Feature Writer at iPhone Life, and has written hundreds of in-depth how-to and troubleshooting articles. She’s a former Associate Editor for iPhone Life magazine, and has written for the Iowa Source , as well as web content for education marketing. Leanne has an associate’s degree in education, with a focus on curriculum development, as well as a bachelor’s degree in science. She has over nine years of experience with SEO, social media management, and web development and writing. Despite years of web work, Leanne is by no means an early adapter; she’s only owned a smartphone for five years, which makes her highly sympathetic to the learning curve of new iPhone owners. She enjoys making reader’s lives easier and putting her education experience to work by walking them through the most practical ways to use Apple devices, step-by-step.

In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.

If you lost your iPhone or are afraid of someone forcing you to unlock it, here’s how to disable Face ID facial recognition so it’s not used against your wishes.

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

Face ID is a cool and efficient way to authenticate yourself on an iPhone. Just one glance at the screen, and your phone unlocks. But facial recognition has a dark side, and some believe putting it in consumer tech is a mistake.

What if you’re ever in a situation where someone else is trying to access your phone using Face ID? Your device could have gone missing, and now someone may by trying to spoof Face ID. There may even be a situation where you are being forced to unlock your own phone.

To protect against these instances, you can permanently shut off Face ID in Settings > Face ID & Passcode. Enter your password, then turn off the toggle for iPhone Unlock. However, Face ID can also be disabled on a temporary basis—such as when you’re at a protest—and it can be done quickly and discreetly if necessary.

Before we cover how to do this, remember that disabling Face ID means that a passcode will be needed to access your phone. If you’re going to temporarily turn off Face ID for any reason, you want to make sure your passcode is as strong as possible. In that case, a four-digit code might not be up to snuff. Instead, consider a longer numeric or even alphanumeric code, which you can create by tapping the Passcode Options link when you try to change your passcode.

Disable Face ID

To disable Face ID using a hands-on method, hold down the side button and either the Volume Up or Volume Down button. That action brings you to the screen where you can power off the phone, access your Medical ID information, or call Emergency Services. If you tap on the Cancel button, you will be brought back to the Lock Screen and Face ID will be disabled. Now to gain access to your phone and re-enable Face-ID, you must enter your passcode.

Disable Face ID With Siri

What if you need a more hands-off approach? Siri can ride to your rescue. However, this maneuver works only if your iPhone is locked. Say “Hey Siri, whose phone is this?” Siri should respond by saying that the iPhone belongs to you and by displaying your contact card. This step also disables Face ID.

If you or someone else now tries to access the phone, the passcode is the only way in. After you enter the passcode, Face ID turns back on.

Remotely Disable Face ID

Okay, but what if your iPhone is lost or stolen? Face ID is automatically disabled after five unsuccessful attempts to unlock it. Apple touts Face ID as a truly secure method of authentication, but people have managed to break through locked phones before.

If you want to take the necessary precautions before the wrong person tries to access your device, there are a few ways to do it. You can disable Face ID remotely with the Find My app on an iPad registered to you or from another device on the same Family Sharing plan. If all else fails, you can also log into iCloud.com from a web browser on any device, then click the Find iPhone icon.

Mark Phone as Lost

The Find iPhone app will track down your phone. Select the lost device, then click the Activate link under Mark as Lost. Click Continue to confirm.

Activate Lost Mode

You can then add an alternative phone number and type a message to be displayed on the phone’s screen. Click Activate, then your phone goes into lost mode and Face ID is disabled.

Turn Off Lost Mode

If you find the device, you can turn Lost Mode off by tapping the Activated link. Swipe down to the bottom of the Lost Mode screen and tap the link to Turn Off Mark as Lost. Select Turn Off.

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How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

Want to temporarily disable Face ID on iPhone? For iPhone models with Face ID, like iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone X, XS, iPhone XR, or iPhone XS Max, you may find yourself wanting to quickly turn off Face ID on iPhone so that it can not use facial recognition to unlock the device. We’ll show you how you can disable the feature with a variety of different methods.

Note this doesn’t turn off Face ID permanently, it just disables Face ID temporarily, until the passcode has been entered properly, and then upon being locked again Face ID will automatically re-enable itself. If you want to turn off Face ID completely you’d need to do that through the system Settings in iOS. But that’s not what we’re aiming for here, instead we’re focusing on temporarily disabling Face ID on iPhone 12, iPhone 11, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max.

There are actually many different ways for Face ID to temporarily become disabled, some methods can be intentionally initiated, while others happen automatically under certain conditions.

How to Temporarily Disable Face ID on iPhone

Perhaps the easiest way to temporarily disable Face ID is to use the button press technique:

  • Hold either of the volume buttons down, along with the Power button, for a second or two until you trigger the Power Down screen
  • As soon as you see the power down screen, stop holding the buttons *
  • Hit the “Cancel” button to dismiss the power down screen and disable Face ID

Once you see the screen to turn off the iPhone, you need to release the buttons. It usually takes one or two seconds for the power off screen to turn up, indicating Face ID will be temporarily turned off.

Be aware that button presses perform many other actions on iPhone X too, however, including taking a screenshot, rebooting the iPhone, and triggering Emergency SOS calling.

* WARNING: This is important – do not hold the buttons too long otherwise Emergency SOS will trigger automatically. Triggering Emergency SOS is fairly easy to initiate by holding a volume and power button too long, it is then not subtle, it makes a loud siren sound and counts down from 3 before making a call to local emergency services on your behalf. Yes, it will call 911 for you, so don’t accidentally do that if you’re just trying to disable Face ID. There are various reports online of various people accidentally triggering Emergency SOS and then having emergency services show up at their house or location – so don’t do that!

5 Other Ways to Disable Face ID Temporarily

According to Apple, there are other ways that Face ID will temporarily disable itself, some of which you could also use to turn off Face ID yourself if need be, like failing to authenticate with Face ID repeatedly.

  • Fail to authenticate with a face five times in a row, after 5 unsuccessful Face ID attempts the feature will disable itself
  • Reboot the iPhone, or turn on a previously shutdown iPhone X. You can reboot an iPhone through a button sequence, or by using the Shut Down menu in iOS Settings on the device
  • Leave the device locked and unused for longer than 48 hours
  • Remotely locking the iPhone via Find My iPhone will disable Face ID
  • Leave the iPhone idle and do not unlock it with a passcode for six and a half days, and not with Face ID in the prior 4 hours

As mentioned earlier, you can also disable Face ID completely by going into the iOS Settings app on iPhone, then going to Face ID and turning the feature off with a toggle switch. That may not be desirable for all users however. With Face ID completely turned off, users must enter a passcode successfully to unlock and access iPhone, similar to how if you completely turn off Touch ID you would have to enter the passcode to access an iOS device.

Why might someone want to disable Face ID temporarily on their iPhone? Perhaps you don’t want someone to be able to hold your iPhone up to your face to unlock it and gain access to the device, whether that’s a kid, partner, friend, person, law enforcement, spouse, or anyone else. Or perhaps you don’t want to unintentionally unlock your device yourself while you’re looking at it and using it for demonstration purposes or something else. Or maybe you’d just rather use your passcode for that particular access attempt. In any case, you now know how you can temporarily disable Face ID on iPhone, so use it if you want to and when you need it!

And yes this article covers the iPhone, but you can also temporarily disable Face ID on iPad with the same techniques.

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

If you ever find yourself wanting to disable Touch ID or Face ID authentication methods on an iPhone or iPad, you can easily temporarily disable the biometric authentication in iOS by using a simple Siri command.

With Touch ID or Face ID temporarily disabled, the iPhone or iPad must then be unlocked with a passcode instead of either a fingerprint or face scan.

How to Disable Touch ID or Face ID Temporarily on iPhone and iPad with Siri

The trick is quite simple, simply ask Siri whose iPhone it is. If that sounds familiar to you, it’s because it’s the same method used to determine the owner of a found iPhone or iPad, and coincidentally it will also lock down the biometric authentication features of the device.

  • Summon Siri as usual, either via Hey Siri, Home button, or Side button, depending on the iPhone or iPad
  • Say “Whose iPhone is this?” to disable Touch ID and Face ID temporarily

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

You can verify this yourself by triggering Siri and asking “Whose iPhone is this”, and then testing out Face ID or Touch ID authentication. The biometric authentication will not work and instead it will say that “Your passcode is required to enable Touch ID” or “Your passcode is require dot enable Face ID” and bring up the typical passcode entry screen of iOS.

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

Important: You must disable Touch ID and Face ID with “Whose iPhone is this?” and NOT “Whose iPad is this?”

Yes, I know it sounds weird, but you must ask “Whose iPhone is this” even if the device is an iPad.

If you ask “Whose iPad is this” then Siri tells you to go to apple.com for some reason instead.

Maybe this Siri quirk will be resolved some time, but for now be sure to refer to your iPad as an iPhone instead to lock it down from biometric access.

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

Note that when asking a device “whose iPhone is this”, Siri will nearly always transcribe the request as “Who’s iPhone is this”, which it has been doing for a long time probably because ‘whose’ and ‘who is’ sound similar. Regardless of Siri transcribing the wrong word or not, the feature still works, just remember to ask “Whose iPhone is this” on iPhone and iPad, because Siri currently does not know how to find ownership of an iPad unless you call it an iPhone.

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

A potential significant advantage to the Siri approach is that it can enacted and used entirely hands-free with ‘Hey Siri’, meaning you can disable Touch ID and Face ID with a device that you don’t have directly on your person. So for example if the iPhone or iPad is sitting on a coffee table face up, you could say “Hey Siri, whose iPhone is this” and it would lock down biometric authentication attempts.

There are other ways to disable Touch ID and Face ID temporarily, for example you can temporarily disable Face ID by pressing the side Power button and then canceling the shutdown request, or by pressing it five times repeatedly, or you can disable Touch ID with repeated attempts with the improper fingerprint. And of course you can always completely turn off Touch ID in iOS, disable Face ID, or use iPhone X without Face ID enabled at all too, and by disabling biometric authentication the passcode must always be used to unlock an iPhone or iPad instead.

If you enjoyed this tip for privacy or security reasons, you may also enjoy these general iPhone security tips that apply to iPad as well.

If you lost your iPhone or are afraid of someone forcing you to unlock it, here’s how to disable Face ID facial recognition so it’s not used against your wishes.

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

Face ID is a cool and efficient way to authenticate yourself on an iPhone. Just one glance at the screen, and your phone unlocks. But facial recognition has a dark side, and some believe putting it in consumer tech is a mistake.

What if you’re ever in a situation where someone else is trying to access your phone using Face ID? Your device could have gone missing, and now someone may by trying to spoof Face ID. There may even be a situation where you are being forced to unlock your own phone.

To protect against these instances, you can permanently shut off Face ID in Settings > Face ID & Passcode. Enter your password, then turn off the toggle for iPhone Unlock. However, Face ID can also be disabled on a temporary basis—such as when you’re at a protest—and it can be done quickly and discreetly if necessary.

Before we cover how to do this, remember that disabling Face ID means that a passcode will be needed to access your phone. If you’re going to temporarily turn off Face ID for any reason, you want to make sure your passcode is as strong as possible. In that case, a four-digit code might not be up to snuff. Instead, consider a longer numeric or even alphanumeric code, which you can create by tapping the Passcode Options link when you try to change your passcode.

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

Disable Face ID

To disable Face ID using a hands-on method, hold down the side button and either the Volume Up or Volume Down button. That action brings you to the screen where you can power off the phone, access your Medical ID information, or call Emergency Services. If you tap on the Cancel button, you will be brought back to the Lock Screen and Face ID will be disabled. Now to gain access to your phone and re-enable Face-ID, you must enter your passcode.

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

Disable Face ID With Siri

What if you need a more hands-off approach? Siri can ride to your rescue. However, this maneuver works only if your iPhone is locked. Say “Hey Siri, whose phone is this?” Siri should respond by saying that the iPhone belongs to you and by displaying your contact card. This step also disables Face ID.

If you or someone else now tries to access the phone, the passcode is the only way in. After you enter the passcode, Face ID turns back on.

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

Remotely Disable Face ID

Okay, but what if your iPhone is lost or stolen? Face ID is automatically disabled after five unsuccessful attempts to unlock it. Apple touts Face ID as a truly secure method of authentication, but people have managed to break through locked phones before.

If you want to take the necessary precautions before the wrong person tries to access your device, there are a few ways to do it. You can disable Face ID remotely with the Find My app on an iPad registered to you or from another device on the same Family Sharing plan. If all else fails, you can also log into iCloud.com from a web browser on any device, then click the Find iPhone icon.

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

Mark Phone as Lost

The Find iPhone app will track down your phone. Select the lost device, then click the Activate link under Mark as Lost. Click Continue to confirm.

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

Activate Lost Mode

You can then add an alternative phone number and type a message to be displayed on the phone’s screen. Click Activate, then your phone goes into lost mode and Face ID is disabled.

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

Turn Off Lost Mode

If you find the device, you can turn Lost Mode off by tapping the Activated link. Swipe down to the bottom of the Lost Mode screen and tap the link to Turn Off Mark as Lost. Select Turn Off.

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

Touch ID and Face ID make it ultra-convenient to unlock your device or verify your identity. But there could be some situations when you may require turning them off for security concern to prevent anyone from forcing you to unlock your device. With iOS 11.2 or later, you can use Siri to temporarily disable Touch ID or Face ID on your iPhone.

iOS 11 already allowed you to temporarily disable Touch ID or Face ID just by clicking the side button five times consecutively. But the ability to disable it using voice command has further enhanced the security. So, just in case the ON/OFF button is not working on your device, or you are more comfortable using voice command, you will be able to instantly turn off the biometric authentication using Apple’s intelligent personal assistant. Let me show you how it works.

How to Temporarily Disable Touch ID and Face ID Using Siri on iPhone

With your iPhone nearby or in your hand, say, “Hey Siri, Who’s phone is this?”

The intelligent personal assistant will now respond with your contact card if it’s assigned to you.

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

To provide the security of the content on the screen or hide your personal contact card from view, simply “Hey Siri, Goodbye.”

Note: If you are using iPhone X, make sure not to glance at the screen while activating Siri otherwise it will unlock your device.

Now, the Touch ID or Face ID will be temporarily disabled, and you need to enter the passcode to unlock your device.

Wrapping up:

So, if you ever find yourself insecure, you have now two easy options to quickly turn off the biometric authentication on your device. Let us know your feedback about these two methods and the one you find more comfortable using.

Take a peek at these posts as well:

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

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How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

Face ID is at least as secure as Touch ID, but it does have its drawbacks. If you have an identical twin, for example, they will probably be able to fool it. And if someone gets ahold of your phone and manages to point it at your face, that might unlock it (provided you turn your attention toward it).

Apple has safeguards in place, just as it did with Touch ID: If Face ID tries to authenticate on someone else’s face and fails several times, it will disable and require your passcode.

Still, there may be times when you feel that you don’t want anyone to be able to use Face ID to get into your phone. Fortunately, it’s quite easy to temporarily disable it. It’s fast and discreet.

Temporarily disable Face ID

Just press and hold the side button, and either one of the volume buttons (it doesn’t matter which one). It’s a quick squeeze of your phone.

After about two seconds, you’ll see the lock screen above, with sliders to power off the phone, show your Medical ID, or trigger Emergency SOS.

How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone

IDG

Once Face ID is disabled, you’ll need to use your passcode for the next login.

At this point, Face ID is disabled. The next time you try to unlock your phone, even if you hit Cancel, the only way to get in will be to enter your six-digit passcode.

Turn off Face ID for good

You should note that Face ID is only temporarily disabled using the method described above. Once you use your passcode to unlock your phone, it will be active again.

You have to go into Settings > Face ID & Passcode to turn it off for good.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus work this same way for Touch ID, but you should know that this is different from previous iPhones. On those, you would press the side button five times. Don’t do that on your iPhone 8 or X! If you do, it will set immediately set off Emergency SOS. mode with a loud siren. This will also disable Face ID, but it’s probably not the best way to do it.

Here’s the situation: you need Face ID or Touch ID disabled, yesterday. You don’t have time to dig around in your settings, slowly working through an authentication reset. If you find yourself in a place where you think your own face or fingerprint will be used against you, use this trick to instantly protect your iPhone.

On your iPhone, hold down both the Volume Up button and the Side or Sleep/Wake button for roughly one and a half seconds. Once you see the “slide to power off” and “Emergency SOS” sliders appear (which will be accompanied by haptic feedback), your iPhone will disable Face ID or Touch ID and will require your passcode the next time you try to unlock it. Once you do unlock it, however, your iPhone reinstates Face ID or Touch ID.

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How to temporarily disable face id or touch id on your iphone alt=”This Is the Quickest Way to Disable Face ID or Touch ID in a Pinch” width=”532″ height=”532″ />

There’s isn’t just one way to force your iPhone to require a passcode. Pulling up the standard power-off screen will do the same, but it takes about a second longer than the method above. If there’s one benefit to the longer method, however, it’s that Emergency SOS doesn’t appear as an option, so your risk of accidentally calling the cops in a non-emergency situation is greatly reduced.

To bring up the standard power-off menu, on an iPhone with a Home button, hold down the Sleep/Wake button. For newer iPhones with Face ID, quickly press Volume Up, then Volume Down, then hold down the Side button.

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