How to set up Face ID on iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max

Face ID setup
Face ID setup (Image credit: iMore)

Face ID is Apple's name for the biometric facial identity scanner on its latest iPhone devices, including the brand new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. With it, you can unlock your iPhone and secure apps just by looking at your device. You can even authenticate Apple Pay, the App Store, and iTunes transactions with Face ID too.

Here's what you need to know about how to set up Face ID on your iPhone 12.

What devices support Face ID?

Now that Face ID has been around for a few years, it's available across a lot more devices, including some iPad models. Here's every device that has Face ID support.

  • iPhone X
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • 11-inch iPad Pro (2018 and later)
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2018 and later)
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max

If you're considering picking up a new iPhone with Face ID, then check our iPhone 12 review and iPhone 12 Pro review for in-depth looks at these devices.

How to set up Face ID on iPhone 12

Setting up Face ID is similar to setting up Touch ID, only easier. iOS will offer to let you set up Face ID as part of your initial iPhone setup. But you can also set up Face ID — and reset it — anytime you want.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Face ID & Passcode.
  3. Enter your Passcode.

Set up Face ID, showing how to open Settings, then tap Face ID & Passcode, then enter your passcode (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Set Up Face ID (or Set Up an Alternate Appearance if you've actually already set up Face ID).
  2. Tap Get Started.
  3. Perform your first scan by slowly moving your head in a cirlce.

Set up Face ID, showing how to tap Setup Face ID, tap Get Started, then start the scan (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Continue.
  2. Perform your second scan by slowly moving your head in a cirlce.
  3. Tap Done.

Set up Face ID, showing how to tap Continue, perform the second scan, then tap Done (Image credit: iMore)

Now you can start using Face ID on your new iPhone!

How do you turn off Require Attention for Face ID?

By default, even the best iPhone requires you to look at it before it authenticates and unlocks your device. If you want to be able to unlock without looking directly at your iPhone screen, for accessibility or convenience reasons, you can turn it off. It's not as secure, but if you want to unlock while your iPhone is on the table or you're holding it off to the side, you can.

Note: The Face ID system still has to be able to see your eyes, nose, and mouth in order to authenticate you. So, even with attention off, there's a limit to its field of view.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Face ID & Passcode.
  3. Enter your Passcode.

Turn off Require Attention, showing how to open Settings, tap Face ID & Passcode, then enter your passcode (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Toggle Require Attention for Face ID to Off
  2. Tap OK on the security warning.

Turn off Require Attention, showing how to tap the switch, then tap OK (Image credit: iMore)

Tap the switch again if you want Require Attention back on.

How do you reset Face ID?

If you want to switch the person's face that's registered on your iPhone or, for whatever reason, you simply want to redo your own Face ID setup, you can!

Note: There's no confirmation required — dear Apple, please add a confirmation dialog! — so the moment you tap the button, your Face ID will be gone and you'll have to set it up again to get it back.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Face ID & Passcode.

Reset Face ID, showing how to open Settings, then tap Face ID & Passcode (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Enter your Passcode.
  2. Tap Reset Face ID.

Reset Face ID, showing how to enter your passcode, then tap Reset Face ID (Image credit: iMore)

Your Face ID questions?

If you have any questions about how to set up Face ID on iPhone 12, or you have a tip of your own to share, drop it in the comments below!

Updated December 2020: Updated for iPhone 12.

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.