If you ever find yourself wanting to disable Touch ID or Face ID authentication methods on an iPhone or iPad, you can easily temporarily disable the biometric authentication in iOS by using a simple Siri command.
With Touch ID or Face ID temporarily disabled, the iPhone or iPad must then be unlocked with a passcode instead of either a fingerprint or face scan.
How to Disable Touch ID or Face ID Temporarily on iPhone and iPad with Siri
The trick is quite simple, simply ask Siri whose iPhone it is. If that sounds familiar to you, it’s because it’s the same method used to determine the owner of a found iPhone or iPad, and coincidentally it will also lock down the biometric authentication features of the device.
- Summon Siri as usual, either via Hey Siri, Home button, or Side button, depending on the iPhone or iPad
- Say “Whose iPhone is this?” to disable Touch ID and Face ID temporarily
You can verify this yourself by triggering Siri and asking “Whose iPhone is this”, and then testing out Face ID or Touch ID authentication. The biometric authentication will not work and instead it will say that “Your passcode is required to enable Touch ID” or “Your passcode is require dot enable Face ID” and bring up the typical passcode entry screen of iOS.
Important: You must disable Touch ID and Face ID with “Whose iPhone is this?” and NOT “Whose iPad is this?”
Yes, I know it sounds weird, but you must ask “Whose iPhone is this” even if the device is an iPad.
If you ask “Whose iPad is this” then Siri tells you to go to apple.com for some reason instead.
Maybe this Siri quirk will be resolved some time, but for now be sure to refer to your iPad as an iPhone instead to lock it down from biometric access.
Note that when asking a device “whose iPhone is this”, Siri will nearly always transcribe the request as “Who’s iPhone is this”, which it has been doing for a long time probably because ‘whose’ and ‘who is’ sound similar. Regardless of Siri transcribing the wrong word or not, the feature still works, just remember to ask “Whose iPhone is this” on iPhone and iPad, because Siri currently does not know how to find ownership of an iPad unless you call it an iPhone.
A potential significant advantage to the Siri approach is that it can enacted and used entirely hands-free with ‘Hey Siri’, meaning you can disable Touch ID and Face ID with a device that you don’t have directly on your person. So for example if the iPhone or iPad is sitting on a coffee table face up, you could say “Hey Siri, whose iPhone is this” and it would lock down biometric authentication attempts.
There are other ways to disable Touch ID and Face ID temporarily, for example you can temporarily disable Face ID by pressing the side Power button and then canceling the shutdown request, or by pressing it five times repeatedly, or you can disable Touch ID with repeated attempts with the improper fingerprint. And of course you can always completely turn off Touch ID in iOS, disable Face ID, or use iPhone X without Face ID enabled at all too, and by disabling biometric authentication the passcode must always be used to unlock an iPhone or iPad instead.
If you enjoyed this tip for privacy or security reasons, you may also enjoy these general iPhone security tips that apply to iPad as well.