XDA Basics: How to Set up Face Unlock or Face ID on your iPhone and iPad

XDA Basics: How to Set up Face Unlock or Face ID on your iPhone and iPad

Back in 2013, when Apple announced the iPhone 5S, one of the major highlights of the device was a fingerprint scanner embedded into the home button. Apple referred to this as Touch ID. In 2017, when Apple took the bezel-less route with the iPhone X, there was no home button to integrate Touch ID and that meant Apple had to figure out an alternative method for biometric authentication. As a result, Face ID was born.

While face-unlock on Android smartphones had been around for quite a while, Face ID on the iPhone was much more secure since it used an IR camera with a dot projector to scan a 3D model of your face.


Face ID on iPhone
Since Face ID was well-received, Apple has stuck to it four years later, and practically all the recent iPhones, including the iPhone 12 and the upcoming iPhone 13 use Face ID as the means of securing the phone. In 2018, Apple even brought Face ID to the iPad Pro since it also had a new bezel-less design that dropped the home button.

If you have any of the new iPhone devices right from the iPhone X all the way up to the iPhone 12, or an iPad Pro from 2018-2021 and more recently, an iPad Air from 2020, here’s how you set up Face Unlock or Face ID on your iPhone and iPad to keep your device secure.

How to Set up Face ID on iPhone and iPad

Note that the following method of setting up and enabling Face ID is applicable to all versions of iOS including the latest iOS 15. Needless to say, Face Unlock will only work on iPhone and iPad devices that have the dedicated Face ID sensors (only on devices without the home button).

Before setting up Face ID, you should know that Apple’s Face ID algorithms learn your usage patterns and adapt to different looks including beard or hair growth, spectacles, etc. If you wear spectacles, it’s advisable to set up Face ID without them, as the algorithm will be able to then recognize you with spectacles on. Also, try to have a light source in front of your face and make sure your background is clean.

Once you’ve taken care of these parameters, here’s how you set up Face ID on your iPhone and iPad.

  • Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad and scroll down till you find the Face ID & Passcode option.

Face ID and Passcode Settings

  • If you’ve already set up a PIN or passcode for your iPhone, enter it to access this setting. If you haven’t set up a PIN yet, you will have to do it before setting up Face ID.
  • Once done, select the Set Up Face ID option and then Get Started.

Face Unlock Options

  • You will now be asked to hold your iPhone so your face is at the center of the circle. Slowly move your head in all directions till the circle turns green indicating the first Face ID scan is complete.

Face ID setup process

  • Repeat this process for the second time as it’s required for extra precision while unlocking your device.
  • You’ve now successfully set up Face ID or Face Unlock on your iPhone or iPad. Next time you try to unlock your iPhone or iPad, your face will be scanned automatically when you swipe up on the lock screen and you won’t have to enter your PIN or passcode.
  • From the Face ID settings menu, you can choose what you want to use Face ID for and also Set Up an Alternate Appearance if you think Face ID is unable to recognize you with glasses or with any other changes to your face.

This is how you can set up Face Unlock or Face ID on your iPhone or iPad and protect your device. Speaking of protection, you can check out some of the best iPad Pro 12.9-inch cases if you want to protect your iPad from the outside as well. Note that Face ID works well even at night thanks to the IR camera. However, it doesn’t work if you have a mask on which can be quite a hassle since all of us are currently wearing masks while going out.

About author

Sumukh Rao
Sumukh Rao

A tech fanatic with a hunger for knowledge in the ever-growing field of science and technology. An avid quizzer and a gadget critic who loves simplifying tech for the masses has a keen interest in modding Android devices.

We are reader supported. External links may earn us a commission.