Face ID Move iPhone A Little Lower? Try These 9 Fixes

Face ID Move iPhone A Little Lower

Why Does Face ID Say Move iPhone A Little Lower?

1. Dirt Covering Front Lens

Dirt can be a big contributor to a camera lens not working as it should, weather that means affecting the quality of the pictures you take or preventing the camera from recognizing your face.

The recognition software that allows for Face ID can only analyze the data the camera gives it, and if dirt is obscuring the image, it also messes with the software’s ability to “see” you.

Basically, the software only detects what the camera sees, and if there’s dirt on your lens, it’s going to detect it. You might not see anything obvious from a casual glance, but natural build up is bound to happen over time as oils, lint, and more comes in contact with your phone.

Whether or not you think there’s dirt on your lens, it’d probably be in your best interest to clean the lens every now and then if only to wipe away the slow buildup.

2. TrueDepth Camera Is Covered

If you’ve never heard of a TrueDepth camera, don’t worry. That’s simply what Apple calls the front facing camera on your iPhone (or iPad) that uses their Face ID recognition software.

And like any other camera, it can’t work properly if it’s covered. If you’re having trouble using Face ID recognition, look at the top of your phone and make sure your case, finger, or anything else isn’t covering the camera.

If something is, that’s probably your problem right there, and all you need to do is uncover the camera lens.

3. Something Covering Your Face

Even halfway through 2022, COVID-19 remains a concern in the world, albeit perhaps not as heavily as it once was. Still, it isn’t unusual to see people walking around in facemasks, even if many have gone back to business as usual.

The thing is, your Face ID won’t recognize your face if you’re wearing a mask. To unlock your phone, you’d need to remove the mask or use your password instead.

Just like a mask can interfere with your Face ID recognition though, so can other things covering your face.

If you set your Face ID up while not wearing make-up, your phone may not recognize you once you’ve applied your make-up (depending on how drastic the transformation to your face is).

If your phone isn’t recognizing you, think about what could be interfering with the recognition software.

4. Your Face Isn’t In the Right Position

Have you ever used your fingerprint to try and unlock your phone only to be told your fingerprint didn’t match, all because your finger wasn’t lined up quite right on the button?

The same sort of phenomenon can happen with your Face ID recognition. The camera has a certain field of view and expects certain parts of your face to appear in certain areas.

If you don’t have your camera positioned right, it won’t be able to detect all parts of your face that the recognition software uses to determine if you’re you.

Remember, Face ID recognition doesn’t mean your phone is as smart as a human and can actually recognize you, regardless of circumstance. It’s a program trained to detect various data points—those points translating to the composition of your face.

When you change something, you always run the possibility of rendering the program unable to do its job properly.

5. Bug

Technology seems to behave when it suits it, and the rest of the time, it’s acting up in peculiar ways.

As much as we try to understand how to make it work for us, sometimes it simply refuses to do what we want it to.

If you’re running into a situation where your iPhone is sending you an error message when you try to use your Face ID even though it should recognize you just find, it could be a temporary glitch.

A bug is usually nothing wrong with anything you’re doing, and they tend to work themselves out fairly quickly. If this is the first time this issue has occurred for you and you haven’t changed your settings or covered up your face in any way, you may be encountering a bug.

Unfortunately, the only thing to do for bugs is try to wait it out or hope one of our solutions below takes care of it.

6. Your iOS version is Out of Date

Sometimes weird things can happen when you don’t keep your phone up-to-date.

Companies push out operating system (OS) updates for devices like your phone and computer to protect your security and privacy and to fix any bugs or odd conflicts that arise from time to time.

If you go too long without updating your phone, you may start running into odd glitches, which is why if you tend to put off or forget to update your phone, you should probably do so and see if that’s the solution to your Face ID recognition issues.

7. More Than Two Days Have Passed Since You Last Unlocked Your Phone

Many people can’t go a whole day without using their phone, but sometimes a person may run into a situation where they honestly don’t use their phone for a full 48 hours or more.

If you happen to run into this situation, don’t worry too much: your face not unlocking your phone is a safety feature implemented by Apple.

Your iPhone is programmed to disable Face ID after 48 hours without use. This means you’ll need your password to unlock your phone. However, once you unlock it with your password once, Face ID should re-enable itself again.

8. Your Phone’s Emergency SOS feature is Switched On

Apple has also implemented a feature that disables Face ID when your phone is in Emergency SOS mode, which users can occasionally accidentally enable.

If you notice your phone telling you Face ID is disabled, look closer at your screen. Your phone should also display a message warning you that it’s in Emergency mode if it is.

Even better, it should give you the option to turn off Emergency mode.

Once you follow your phone’s prompts, Face ID should be restored. But on the off chance it isn’t, go ahead and enter your passcode to open your phone once. Then close your phone again and check to see if Face ID is working now.

9. Dark Room

Everyone likes laying in their bed in the dark watching their favorite streaming service on their phone, right?

Even if you don’t, just about everyone’s bound to run into an issue where they want to get into their phone, but their surroundings are dark.

Since cameras rely on light to “see” properly, your dark surroundings could be the reason behind why your phone can’t detect your face. Try turning on a light or moving into a place that’s better lit.

If your Face ID lets you into your phone after that, you’ll know your dark surroundings were to blame (and that you might want a quick, easy passcode if you plan on watching videos in the dark often).

10. Flood Illuminator Issue

Your Face ID recognition hardware (the pieces that allow the software to do its thing) include a few major components, and one of those is called a flood illuminator.

If you’ve never heard of this, it’s a component that shines infrared light at your face, allowing your infrared camera to do its part in “reading” your face. Without your flood illuminator working properly, the infrared camera can’t do its job, which means your phone can’t complete Face ID.

There are videos on the internet describing the problem in more detail and even showing how to test your flood illuminator, but if this piece is causing a problem, you’re likely better off calling in support.

11. Infrared Camera Issue

Even if your flood illuminator is working properly, the infrared camera needs to work properly as well for successful facial recognition. In fact, the infrared camera is the part that’s able to “read” your face.

It takes a picture while the flood illuminator is projecting infrared light onto your face and creates a sort of 3D map of your face from the picture. As with the flood illuminator, any issue with the infrared camera is best left to professionals.

12. Ambient Light Sensor

Your ambient light sensor, unlike the flood illuminator and infrared camera, is not strictly part of your phone facial recognition tools.

Actually, this sensor is largely responsible for automatically adjusting the brightness on your phone (making your phone screen brighter when it’s light around you and darker when it’s dark).

However, the ambient sensor also feeds information to your flood illuminator. Any issue with this sensor therefore could potentially affect your Face ID.

Try taking your phone into environments with different lighting and watch to see how (or if) the brightness changes.

If you detect no change (and you haven’t disabled automatic shifting of brightness levels), then it’s likely your ambient sensor isn’t working for some reason. Like with the last two issues, this would be the time to call in a professional for help.

How to Fix Face ID Move iPhone A Little Lower

1. Move Your iPhone Lower

The first and most obvious fix is that you simply need to readjust your camera position to put your face into perfect focus for your iPhone’s Face ID recognition software to do its thing. If your phone is prompting you to move your phone lower, try doing as it says.

If your problem was truly camera positioning all along, following your phone’s instructions will be the easiest and best solution.

2. Clean the Front-facing Camera Lens

We’ve already discussed how cameras collect dirt and other particles through daily phone use and how keeping your camera lens clean is important to your camera’s functionality, but we never discussed how you should go about cleaning your camera lens. Electronics tend to be delicate and require extra care when you want to clean them.

If your lens isn’t too dirty or you’re in a rush, you can always wipe down your camera lens with a dry microfiber cloth or a lens cloth.

Microfiber cloths are commonly used for cleaning a variety of delicate surfaces, such as glasses lens, and are easily accessible, making them a great choice if you don’t have a lens cloth lying around.

However, you run the risk of scratching your lens with cloths if you attempt any rough scrubbing to remove stubborn or large particles.

For stubborn particles, consider using a lens fluid. Be careful that you specifically use a lens fluid and not a glass cleaner however, as glass cleaners can actually damage your camera lens.

Your cleaner should be dabbed onto a cloth or Q-tip in moderation, never applied directly to the lens itself, and then used to gently wipe away any build-up that’s occurred.

For those who are hesitant to invest in a lens cleaner, a drop of distilled water applied to a Q-tip is also a perfectly acceptable method for cleaning your lens.

Once your camera lens is free of debris, you should notice a discernable difference in the quality of your pictures—and hopefully have solved your Face ID recognition issues.

3. Reset Face ID

If your Face ID isn’t wanting to work for you, whether because you set it up in conditions that are unlike your day-to-day routine when you’re usually using your phone or because there’s some other issue, resetting your Face ID may be the way to go.

Remember, when setting up your Face ID, you want your appearance to be as close to a daily normal as you can get it, whether this means applying make-up, removing make-up, adjusting whether or not you’re wearing glasses, and perhaps even how you style your hair.

All of these factors will help your phone’s software recognize you easier later down the road.

To reset Face ID, first find and open your Settings app. You’ll scroll down until you locate Face ID & Passcode, click it, then click Reset Face ID.

Your phone will then take you through the prompts to set up your Face ID again. If all you needed was a reset, your problem should be fixed after you do this!

4. Removing Anything Covering Face

As we mentioned before, anything covering your face could prevent your Face ID software from recognizing you, whether it be a face mask, sunglasses, heavy make-up, or anything else obstructive.

If your Face ID isn’t working and you think something may be getting in the way, try removing whatever it is and then trying to use your Face ID again.

If your phone recognizes you afterward, you know not to try to use Face ID in the future with whatever prevented your phone from recognizing you this time.

5. Restart iPhone

Anyone familiar with tech support knows this procedure. Often, it’s the first thing you’re asked to do.

That’s because in many cases, anything wrong with your device can be repaired with a simple restart, whether the device be a computer, console, tablet, or phone.

Phones go through a restart process when they’re updated, but sometimes they need to be restarted a little more frequently for optimal performance.

Restarting your iPhone is pretty easy! Locate and hold down your power button for several seconds until you see a dark screen with a slider labeled “slide to power off.”

Swipe this slider all the way to the right to turn off your iPhone, and it will shut down. Leave your phone for a few seconds before pressing the power button again. In a few seconds, a white screen with a black Apple logo should appear to indicate the phone is rebooting itself.

If you’re in a situation where you can’t swipe the power slider across the screen to turn your phone off, there is a button combination you can use to force restart your phone.

Press volume up once, volume down once, then hold down your power button. After several seconds, your screen should go completely black, indicating that your phone has been shut off. The restart process to turn it back on is the same.

Once you’ve gotten back into your phone, you should hopefully find that your phone is recognizing your face once more!

6. Update iOS

If it’s been quite a while since you’ve updated your phone, whether because you forgot or just seemed to keep pushing off that notification to do so, it could cause a variety of bugs. Simply updating your phone could solve your Face ID recognition issues.

To update your iPhone, first locate and click on your Settings app. Scroll down and navigate to General > Software Updates. If your phone needs updating, the update will appear now. You’ll hit Download and Install, then follow your phone’s prompts to complete the update.

You’ll also find a menu named Automatic Updates under Software Updates. If you don’t have automatic update downloads/installations enabled and tend to be forgetful to update your phone even with regular reminders, this may be a good way for you to keep your phone up-to-date.

7. Reset All iPhone Settings

If you’ve tried everything above, the next step in attempting to fix your Face ID recognition problems may be to reset your iPhone.

Before you skip to a full factory reset and lose all your data, images, apps—everything—try simply resetting your phone’s settings themselves.

Sometimes this can fix whatever issue you may be having, and the benefit is that you keep a lot of the personalization you’d lose in a factory reset.

To reset your settings, open your Settings app on your iPhone. You’ll then navigate to General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset. You’ll then be presented with several options. You’ll want to select Reset All Settings. This option will restore all settings on your iPhone to their default and hopefully fix your Face ID recognition.

WARNING: do not choose Erase All Content and Settings. That is the factory reset option, and you will also lose all content on your iPhone.

8. Factory Reset

If nothing else seems to fix your Face ID recognition issues and nothing seems to be preventing your phone from recognizing your face, your phone may need a factory reset.

It isn’t ideal, as a factory reset means restoring the phone to the condition it was in when it first came out of the box, but resets have been known to fix a variety of issues.

Performing a factory reset is fairly easy. Find the Settings app on your iPhone, then navigate to General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. When prompted, click Erase iPhone. You’ll then be prompted to enter your Apple ID and password to confirm your decision.

Once you do, your iPhone will reset itself and return you to set-up just like when it first came out of the box. Once you set it up to your liking once more, your phone should recognize you once more.

9. Contact Apple

Of course, when all else fails, contact the professionals. They’re trained to know the ins and outs of Apple’s software and all the various issues that can occur within it.

They’ll likely ask if you tried a few of the methods we recommended here first but then they’ll be able to get into any deeper issues they might be able to figure out.

No one likes contacting customer support, but it’s just what you’ve got to do to solve your problem sometimes. Apple’s customer support contact information can be found on their site.

David Johnson is a freelance writer with 9 years of experience writing for Techzillo and other established tech outlets like iMore. His focus and key interests are Apple and accessibility as well as consumer technology in general. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.


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