Skip to main content

Touch ID for the iTunes Store is great, when it's not asking for your password

Prior to the launch of the iPhone 5s, I went on record on the iMore Show with my one desire for the then much rumored fingerprint sensor. If it arrived and didn't allow me to buy apps and content from iTunes by touching my finger to it, then I wasn't that interested. Delight then, that Apple took the stage, announced Touch ID, and that we could use it to buy things. Delight, quickly followed by epic frustration.

Why frustration? Because I still find myself entering my Apple ID password at present twice a day, minimum. I'm referring to a message which pops up just after hitting the install button on a new app from the App Store. It says;

Confirm Apple ID Password for "........." to Renew Touch ID Purchases

The only instance I've come across elsewhere on the iPhone 5s that specifically requests passcode input over Touch ID is when you restart the device. That's understandable, but it also doesn't require entering a 20+ character password. I have a long and complex Apple ID password – as should everyone else – which is precisely why I was so excited when Apple announced Touch ID support for the stores. I'm lazy. And entering a 20+ character password every time you want to download an app gets tiresome.

When you look into the details, I completely understand why Apple is asking you to verify your fingerprint from time to time. Since your Apple ID is connected to your personal details, your credit card, it's only natural that there's an added layer of security over it. I get it. I don't get why it happens twice a day. But likewise, toggling access to Touch ID on for the iTunes and App Store requires you to enter your Apple ID password first. So again, is the twice a day frequency really necessary? After all, I've validated it once just to turn it on.

Or perhaps, am I just incredibly unlucky? At least two other members of the iMore team experience the same as I do, so I know I'm not totally alone. We do download an often insane amount of apps in the line of our work, so maybe we're just noticing it more often?

On the whole, I'm a fan of Touch ID. More so than I thought I would be. But while my biggest desire heading into it was delivered, it wasn't delivered in a way that wows me. I'm left a little disappointed. We're only at the beginning, so hopefully it'll keep getting better, but right now it's only a great experience when unlocking my iPhone.

What about you guys, though. What's your experience been like this past week with Touch ID? Best thing ever? Waste of time? Somewhere in the middle? Let me know in the comments!

Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy. Follow him on Twitter and Google+

35 Comments
  • That shows a lack of faith in your security model. Banks do this a lot as well by requiring additional bits of information to authenticate. To me it makes me feel like "if you're not confident in your security then should I really be using this technology?" Like you I want to create a ridiculously long Apple ID password but if I've got to keep inputting it to satiate Touch ID then I'm going back to a more simplified password defeating the purpose.
  • It's one thing to have faith in a proven tech. It's quite another to have faith in a very new tech with one's financial data. Apple is especially vulnerable because an iTunes account reaches out to so many services. It's new tech.. Personally, I'm glad they have the reins tight at the start to make sure not just any thumb can access my credit card. Seriously..
  • I like the idea of Touch ID, but, unfortunately it only works for me about 30% of the time. I've registered the same finger multiple times to see if it helps and it doesn't. It's frustrating because majority of the time i end up using my pass code. Are others experiencing a high failure rate?
  • I have been very frustrated with Touch ID. It only works 30% of the time to unlock my phone. I have deleted my prints a number or times and reentered with much difficulty, as it often rejects my prints or freezes when inputting. I opened a ticket with Apple and they recommended I back up my phone , reset it and start new. I'm still experiencing the same problem. My feeling is that I have a bad sensor on my phone. My next attempt is a visit to the Apple store. Anyone else experience such a low success rate ?
  • Looks like we are both experiencing the same thing. I'm interested to hear what others say.
  • To be honest I've had no problems at all. I have use 2 fingers on each hand and it has easily a 99% success rate. Now I do actually have the issue of having to give my password in the App Store. This isn't everytime but enough to be frustrating.
  • I think I may have a bad device based on my experience.
  • After many updates and reboots, I made an appointment at the local Apple store and they replaced the phone. Now works great. They mentioned that they had not see this problem before.
  • Actually it might have just been at the beginning because for the last few days I've noticed I haven't put it in once.
  • The one thing I don't understand with the touch id is the fact that when turned on, it still gives the option to put in the 4 digit passcode. Why can't I give a thief no option BUT to have to use the touch id?
  • Because you have to leave YOU an option other than the touch id. What if it fails? You would have no way into your phone.
  • Because Touch ID allows up to five fingerprints to be used for phone access (allowing "trusted" family or whoever to have access to your phone), I wonder if they require the iTunes password because they don't know which of those five users is logged in. Maybe having more than one fingerprint stored with Touch ID is what triggers the iTunes password requests? Or maybe not -- I don't have a 5s yet for testing! :(
  • Only fingerprint #1 is authorized to make purchases. All others only allow access to unlock& use the phone. At least that is what I read in multiple reports, just after the 5S announcement.
  • The only issue I had with it was the very first time I purchased something in the App Store. I thought it might have to do with the fact that since I restored my phone by an iCloud backup, that it might want me to enter in my password one more time in the Settings --> iTunes and App Store. Once I entered it there and it was verified, I have been able to successfully use my fingerprint the first time, every time. Not sure if I just don't purchase enough apps in the day for it to trigger it to ask for my password again.
  • I agree with you. It's a pain in the neck because I only use iTunes to purchase items no more than once a day.
  • What? Is this article only for those that work at Apple? I pre-ordered mine day-1 and wont get it until Oct 11ish so I cant participate. Now if you ask about iPhone4, Im your man! :)
  • I've actually had high success with touch id only time it has failed was when I'm sitting at work trying to angle my thumb but then I just registered my index finger and I have no issues at all.
  • This doesn't happen to me. What kind of adult apps are you and Ally buying? Maybe Touch ID thinks you're sketchy? I only have to do that if I restart for now. Though I'm sure I'll hit the timer eventually. Be chill, Touch ID will be chill. (Is this how to troll?)
  • Sounds like a good troll to me. Lol.
  • I know security is KING. But wow, a 20+ character password. And, yeah, it would also drive me crazy if I have to enter a password that long every 15 minutes or so instead of it just validating with TouchID.
  • It does happens to me usually when you restart. I'm bit upset at the notion that can't set touchID to unlock your phone if you don't have it set to lock immediately. If I want to have it set to prompt for password or pin at the 1 hour mark I can't have touchID enabled to use it as such. If you want to use touchID you have to set it to lock immediately. Why?
  • The most annoying thing is that enabling TouchID locks the phone immediately. That means that trying to read a text requires a print each time. So annoying. I turned off TouchID today. Totally useless.
  • I don't understand. My phone doesn't lock immediately. I have it set to never lock unless I push the lock button.
  • I haven't had that happen.
  • If you have an any kind of Exchange account on your phone, it requires your phone to lock immediately. If you don't have any Exchange accounts, you can set the time limit for locking. It's a new security thing.
  • my daughter changed her password and forgot the number sequence she chose. She thought her touch id would allow her to get in but it won't do it without a password. Is she forced to restore her phone now? She hadn't backed up her phone in a while. Any suggestions?
  • It only asks me for my password if I have added a new fingerprint, or restarted the phone. After doing either of these things, it only wants me to enter my password once to verify that I'm who I say I am.
    The fingerprint recognition works about 90% of the time for me. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries.
  • A question remains: Are you updated to 7.0.2 or are you still on 7.0.0? I updated on Friday when I got home with my phone to 7.0.1 and then the same day that 7.0.2 came out and I have not had that occur.
  • Make sure your security code is entered in Settings > iTunes & App Store > Apple ID > View Apple ID > Payment Information > Security Code. After a phone switch and a restore from iCloud, this code doesn't get transfered. Once you enter it, App Store will stop asking for your password and you can scan your finger instead.
  • Thank you for the info that fixed it. Called apple tech support and they were no help.
  • I entered this info but it doesn't get saved. I also notice that when I switch on the use for iTunes and app store the request pasword is set to immediately and this can't be changed. On the support page of apple it is mentioned that touch ID can't be used whe this request is set to immediately. So I'm in a loop.
  • Yes same issue. Really annoying, the main thing I was looking forward to with 5S was not having to put password in every time I made a purchase. Not happy Apple. Big fat waste of time.
  • So agree...I can understand why you need to "check in" occasionally but finger prints are unique so why every day? Come on what's the point of touch if if you still need to authenticate with a password so frequently
  • I have found that if you don't enable locking of your phone (whether or not you enable your fingerprint to unlock it), it won't let you use your fingerprint to make App Store purchases. In other words: You can't use your fingerprint only for App Store purchases, you have to first enable phone locking. I don't want to lock my phone, but I do want to use Touch ID in the App Store. Has anyone found a way around this?
  • Bloody asks for password too. And very limited functionality. Touchid is nowhere near reaching it's full potential. Much to be desired.