Are there any "best practices" for setting up Touch ID fingers on an iPhone?

I know how to setup this, but I believe I may miss some of the unlock scenarios during setup and end up unable to unlock my phone without taking it in hand or one of the "ways" I held it during setup.

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    @bmike I acknowledge the need for your edit, but I'm a little concerned that you took a general question and added new specifics that the OP wasn't intending. In fact, my answer below no longer answers this question. (Not sure how to fix it...) – Daniel Griscom Dec 24 '18 at 16:08
  • @DanielGriscom thanks for hightlighting this, the new version of question have nothing related to my older version. – okutane Dec 24 '18 at 16:12
  • I’ve asked another mod to handle this. It’s far too subjective to my tastes, but if everyone likes it subjective I’m fine leaving it open. – bmike Dec 24 '18 at 16:33
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    @bmike Most excellent. This is the first time I've seen someone take this step. Whatever the result, it'll be a well-supported decision. Thanks. – Daniel Griscom Dec 24 '18 at 17:43

I added my two thumbs and my two index fingers. This allows me to unlock the phone with both hands. I find it easier to unlock it when it's resting on my desk with my index fingers.

Plus, I can lose one hand and still unlock my iPhone!

On the second stage ("Adjust your grip") I change my finger position and how I hold the phone to allow for different holding / unlocking scenarios.


Apple does not provide any guidance as to which fingers you should set up. It is purely a matter of personal preference as to which fingers you use based on the ways you hold your device when unlocking.

I suggest adding fingers you consistently use when trying to unlock your device to Touch ID, and removing any fingers you don't use often. In case you didn't label your Touch ID fingerprints, you can see which fingerprint corresponds to which row in Settings by holding your finger on Touch ID when in the Settings page.


The more fingers you add to Touch ID, the less selective it will be. For example, if you train the system with four fingers, then it will be four times as likely to match on a stranger's finger.

From Apple's iOS Security Security Guide, p. 10 (edited):

The probability that a random person in the population could unlock your iPhone is 1 in 50,000 with Touch ID.... This probability increases with multiple enrolled fingerprints (up to 1 in 10,000 with five fingerprints)....

So, you should train the fingers you need for the system to be convenient, but no more, and remember that you're balancing convenience against security.

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