How to: Set up Touch ID fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5S

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Apple’s Touch ID is one of the biggest additions to the iPhone 5S. It utilizes a special capacitive sensor built into the phone’s Home button to scan and identify a users fingerprint. This can be used to unlock the phone, sign off on App Store purchases, and any number of other potential uses down the road.

Because Touch ID is deeply integrated into iOS 7 on the iPhone 5S, it’s one of the first things Apple will ask you to set up when booting up your handset for the first time. The process is super simple.

First, you will be prompted to place your finger on the Home button. If you are setting up  Touch ID for the first time, it’s best to go with the finger you use most often to access your phone. You will need to pick up your finger and place it back on the sensor multiple times, allowing the system to create an accurate map of your print than can be read from several angles. If you haven’t moved your finger around enough, you might get a prompt to do so.

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After an initial scan is complete, you will be prompted to touch the Home button with the edge of your finger or thumb, helping to account for those instances where your grip causes you to touch the sensor at an awkward angle. The result is a comprehensive fingerprint map (only stored locally, never sent to the Apple) that should provide an accurate reading.

When the process is complete, you will be asked to provide a four-digit PIN to act as an alternative method to unlocking the handset. This will come in handy in case your phone is unable to read your fingerprint (the sensor doesn’t always play nice with sweaty or wet hands) and adds an extra layer of security should your phone become lost or stolen.

If you don’t set up Touch ID at launch, you can always do so later under Settings. Navigate to General, then Passcode & Fingerprint. Select ‘Turn Passcode On’ and enter a 4-digit PIN. After creating a PIN, scroll down and tap Fingerprints. Tap ‘Add a fingerprint…’ and you will be prompted to complete the above process.

The Fingerprints menu under Settings is also where you will want to head if you wish to have Touch ID respond to multiple different prints. You can save your thumb, index finger, etc. so you won’t always have to use the same digit to access your iPhone 5S.

That’s all there is to it. Now unlocking your iPhone is as easy as gently resting your preferred digit on the Touch ID Home button…and it’s quick. And thanks to Touch ID, you’ll never have to bother to enter your Apple ID password when purchasing an app ever again. Just scan your fingerprint and go.

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