How to retry Face ID following a failed facial scan on the Lock screen

iOS 12 makes it easy to retry Face ID following a failed attempt to scan your face without having to re-enter your passcode

The September 2018 release of the iOS 12 software update brought an easier way for iPhone owners to retry Face ID following an unsuccessful unlock attempt on the Lock screen.


  • Retrying Face ID was cumbersome before.
  • iOS 12 simplifies retrying Face ID on the Lock screen after a failed scan.
  • This saves you from falling back to the passcode.
  • Just swipe up to retry Face ID

Retrying Face ID after a failed attempt was possible before iOS 12: you’d slide a finger up a bit across the Home indicator at the bottom of the screen, then back down quickly.

That gesture wasn’t very intuitive to begin with, nor was it easy to memorize.

TUTORIAL: Retrying Face ID after a failed attempt on older iOS editions

With iOS 12, retrying Face ID after a failed unlock attempt is now a lot easier without having to re-enter the passcode on the Lock screen, which re-enables facial unlocking.

Follow along to learn how to master this cool feature.

How to retry Face ID after a failed attempt

If your device is on iOS 12 or newer, the following message appears on the Lock screen after unsuccessfully attempting to unlock the phone with the Face ID system:

Swipe up for Face ID or enter passcode.

So go ahead and do just that, it’s that simple! As we mentioned earlier, before iOS 12 camera along the user’s passcode was needed to enable Face ID following a failed scan.

An iPhone X on the Lock screen after a failed Face ID attempt

And that’s all there’s to it, seriously!

Instead of typing in the passcode to re-enable Face ID after it fails to recognize your face, simply swipe up from the bottom edge of the display to perform another scan.

TIP: How to temporarily disable Touch ID/Face ID unlock and require a passcode

As you already know, a successful facial scan instantly unlocks all your protected notifications. As soon as the padlock icon at the top of the Lock screen indicates that the phone’s been unlocked, you can read all the alerts or swipe up to get to your Home screen.

The Lock screen on an iPhone X with an unlocked Face ID padlock icon shown at the top

iOS limits your facial unlock attempts to three in a row.

A fourth fail prompts the operating system to temporarily disable Face ID until the passcode is re-entered, which strengthens your security and makes brute-force hacking harder.

Face ID unlock still not working?

Are you seeing too many Face ID fails?

If so, be sure that the option Require Attention for Face ID has been turned on in your Face ID settings. When it’s on, you’ll need to stare at the device when using Face ID unlocking.

TUTORIAL: How to always show notification previews on your Lock screen

Folks on older iOS versions can retry Face ID after a failed unlock attempt in these ways:

  • Put your device to sleep and wake it up
  • Tap Cancel after a failed attempt
  • Use the workaround solution we provided

And that’s all you need to know about retrying Face ID on the Lock screen.

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