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How to Clear Touch ID Data from a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

The usefulness of the Touch Bar on recent MacBook Pro models is dependent on whether or not a Mac app has been updated to take advantage of the handy OLED strip, but there’s one thing that most users set up immediately — Touch ID. A very useful feature of the MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016) and later, and MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports) and later, the Touch ID pad can be found on the far right side of the Touch Bar.

On occasion — particularly with MacBook Pros that have been erased by a third-party utility or target disk mode — you may try to add a fingerprint to the computer only to get a message that says “Fingerprint limit reached.” Today I’ll show you a method of clearing the Touch ID fingerprint data from a MacBook Pro. (Related Tip: How to force restart a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar)

1) Start up the MacBook Pro or restart it while holding down Command ( ⌘ ) – R. Keep holding these two keys  the Apple logo appears on MacBook Pro screen. (The Command – R keyboard shortcut is used to enter Recovery Mode on a Mac)

2) Once the macOS Utilities menu appears on the screen, click Utilities in the menu bar, then select Terminal
3) At the terminal prompt, type

xartutil --erase-all

then press the Return key on the keyboard
4) A prompt appears asking

Are you sure you want to erase ALL entries (yes/no)?



then press the Return key

5) Select Restart from the Apple (  ) menu to reboot your MacBook Pro

At this point, you’ll be able to log into the MacBook Pro using your password. To set up Touch ID, click the System Preferences button in the Dock or select Apple (  ) menu > System Preferences. Once in System Preferences, click on the Touch ID button located in the lower row.

The Touch ID preference pane in macOS Mojave
(The Touch ID preference pane in macOS Mojave.)

From the Touch ID preference pane, you’ll be able to use add fingerprints and set up Touch ID for unlocking your Mac, making payments with Apple Pay, and purchasing content from iTunes and the App Store.

Steve Sande
the authorSteve Sande
Contributing Author
Steve is the publisher of Apple World Today, a website providing news, reviews and how-tos for the world of Apple, as well as an author on The Rocket Yard. He's an avid photographer, an FAA-licensed drone pilot, and a really bad guitarist.
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  • Help! This erased my password and I’m unable to log into my MacBook Pro. Now I’m dealing with a non existent time machine backups.

  • Help!! I did this and I can’t solve my problem now. I am experienced the same problems as the rest of the comments. Is there any way I can undo this?! I’m so frustrated and angry. PLEASE HELP! I feel like someone is controlling my computer. Is this the way to hack a computer?!

    • I did this as well and was unable to log into the computer. I would not take my password. Ended up with a huge mess trying to reformat the hard drive, install a clean OS catalina, used Time Machine and I am finally back in business. However, I still have the same problem.