What happens if you purchase an iPhone and the Touch ID doesn’t work? Well, if it’s a new phone then you’ll have absolutely no problem (even if you didn’t purchase AppleCare+) because hardware problems are covered on new phones for 1 year—take your phone into Apple they’ll get it fixed right up, or get you a new phone!

If you bought from someone selling their iPhone and the Touch ID isn’t working, that’s a different story! After the infamous Error 53, replacing the home button and retaining a functioning Touch ID on your iPhone is something that only an Apple repair center can reliably do. Why? As TechCrunch put it:

“Allowing a third-party Touch ID sensor to function properly without an official Apple repair center both verifying that it is legitimate and recalibrating the cable to work with your iPhone’s Secure Enclave is a huge security risk.”

So what is the significance of having a Touch ID that doesn’t work? A non-functioning Touch ID will not affect your ability to use your iPhone for most tasks, but it will eliminate a few features.

Features You Lose Without TouchID:

Fingerprint Unlock: You will not be able to unlock your phone using your fingerprint. You can still keep your phone locked, you will simply be required to enter in your 4-digit passcode to unlock it. Not such a big deal, right? Just a bit less convenient.

Apple Pay: Without a working Touch ID you will not be able to use Apple Pay on your iPhone. To pay with your phone you must place your finger on the fingerprint sensor while holding your phone to the scanner, so without the Touch ID this feature won’t work.

Although the list of stores that accept Apple Pay is growing, at this point, losing the Apple Pay feature probably won’t be a huge deal to most shoppers.

Fingerprint Login: Some apps, like banking apps, allow you to use your fingerprint to log into the app instead of typing in your password. This can be a time-saver, but not a bug problem.

Random Thing You Probably Won’t Use: A recent Apple commercial lists some of the neat thing you can do with Touch ID, take a look at it and really think about which ones you would actually be using. (Who doesn’t to drive that car that you can unlock with your phone though?!)


So if you purchased a used iPhone and the Touch ID isn’t functioning, it may not be such a big deal… unless you paid too much for it! If the Touch ID on the phone isn’t working you should be getting a discount and not paying what you would for the same phone with a good Touch ID!