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How to Set Up Touch ID and Add Fingerprints on Mac Laptops

I recently purchased a 16-inch MacBook and immediately enabled Touch ID, which is available on most MacBook Pros and the latest MacBook Air. It lets you quickly unlock your Mac and make purchases using your Apple ID and Apple Pay with your fingerprint.

On MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar, the Touch ID button is on the right side of the Touch Bar at the top of the keyboard.

Image via Apple

On MacBook Air models introduced in 2018 and later, the Touch ID button is on the right side of the function keys.

Image via Apple

If you want to use the Mac’s Touch Bar to its fullest extent, you’ll need to set up Touch ID and add your fingerprint(s).

How To Add TouchID Fingerprints

Go to Apple menu → System Preferences→ Touch ID.

You can select which tasks you want Touch ID to perform: Unlocking your Mac; Apple Pay; iTunes & App Store & Apple Books; and/or Safari AutoFill. I use it for all of these.

Note: Depending on which macOS you are running, and on what computer, your options may vary.

Click the “+ Add a fingerprint” to add a new fingerprint. You can add up to three.

Your Mac will prompt you to enter your system account password and place your finger to set up your fingerprint.

If multiple users set up Touch ID and log in to the same Mac, they can use Touch ID to switch accounts. Just press Touch ID, and your Mac switches to the logged-in user account associated with the fingerprint.

How To Delete TouchID Fingerprints

Hover the pointer over a fingerprint. A delete button (an “x”) appears.

Click the delete button, then enter your password to remove the fingerprint.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Contributing Author
Dennis has over 40 years of journalism experience and has written hundreds of articles. For the past 20-plus years, he's been an online journalist, covering mainly Apple Inc. He's written for MacCentral, MacWorld, MacMinute, Macsimum News, Apple Daily Report, and is now contributing editor at Apple World Today.
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  • I just bought a MacBook Pro and my Touch ID was working fine and then it stopped. Try deleting the fingerprint and start again and it does not work.

  • Touch ID was working. It stopped working. I removed my fingerprint. Restarted and tried to add a fingerprint. It asked and accepted my password. Nothing happened. Was not prompted to place my finger. When I placed my finger nothing happens. I am running Big Sur 11.1.

    I see lots of others with the same problem but don’t see any solutions.

  • I have a MacBook Air and I had my fingerprint set up from last year 2019 but now I have to type in a password every time I start my computer. This started happening after the last update How can I fix this?

  • I’ve had my Mac for about 6 weeks. I set up fingerprint ID immediately, but now I have to type in a password every time I start my computer. This started happening after the last update. How can I fix this?