How to Use Touch ID on iMac

Sign in, use Apple Pay, and more without entering your password

What to Know

  • Touch ID on iMac requires the Magic Keyboard With Touch ID and a compatible M1 iMac.
  • Enable Touch ID by opening the Apple menu and selecting System Preferences > Touch ID > Add Fingerprint.
  • Each Touch ID function can be enabled or disabled through the Touch ID menu in System Preferences.

This article explains how to use Touch ID on an iMac, beginning with the 24-inch M1 iMac released in 2021. These instructions also work if you have a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro with Touch ID.

Does iMac Have Touch ID?

Touch ID has been around for a long time in iOS as a secure sign-in and payment verification method, and the 2016 lineup of MacBooks brought the feature to macOS. Without a built-in fingerprint scanner, Macs were not initially equipped for Touch ID. Beginning with the 24-inch M1 iMac in 2021, iMacs with an Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID are compatible with the feature.

Where Is Touch ID on iMac?

To use Touch ID on your iMac, you need a Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, and your iMac must support that keyboard. Touch ID isn't available on iMacs that predate the release of the 24-inch M1 iMac, and it isn't available if you have a standard Magic Keyboard without a Touch ID button.

To determine whether you can use Touch ID on your iMac, look at your Magic Keyboard. If the upper-right key has an eject icon on it, you have a standard Magic Keyboard and can't use it for Touch ID. If the upper-right key has a circle icon, the keyboard supports Touch ID.

The Touch ID button on an Apple Magic Keyboard.

How Do I Use Touch ID on My iMac?

To use Touch ID on an iMac, place your finger on the fingerprint scanner when an on-screen message prompts you to do so. For example, you can touch the fingerprint scanner when signing in to your iMac or using Apple Pay instead of entering your password.

If you haven't set up Touch ID on your iMac, you must do that before you can use the Touch ID feature.

Here's how to set up and configure Touch ID on your iMac:

  1. Click the Apple icon on the Mac menu bar.

    The Apple menu icon highlighted on Mac desktop
  2. Select System Preferences in the drop-down menu.

    System Preferences highlighted in the Apple menu
  3. Choose Touch ID on the System Preferences screen.

    Touch ID highlighted in macOS System Preferences
  4. Select Add Fingerprint.

    Add Fingerprint highlighted in the Touch ID settings
  5. Place your finger on the Touch ID key on the keyboard when prompted to do so.

    Prompt to place your finger on the Touch ID key repeatedly
  6. Lift and reposition your finger repeatedly on the Touch ID key. As you do, your fingerprint begins registering in red on the screen.

    Fingerprint registration process in Touch ID settings
  7. Continue repositioning your finger on the Touch ID key until the entire fingerprint is red, indicating a complete impression. When the Touch ID is complete, click Done.

    Done highlighted on a completed Touch ID fingerprint screen
  8. View the Touch ID settings, all of which are checked by default. If you don't want to use one (or more) of these features, click the corresponding check next to it to remove it.

    The Use Touch ID For section highlighted in Touch ID settings

    Want to use more than one fingerprint with Touch ID on your iMac? Just click Add Fingerprint again, and you can add additional fingerprints.

What Does Touch ID Work With on iMac?

Touch ID is designed to take the place of entering your password in a variety of situations. You decide what you want to use Touch ID with on your iMac. For example, if you only want to use Touch ID to unlock your iMac, you can select only that option in the Touch ID settings, and everything else will still require a password.

Here are the different things you can do with Touch ID on an iMac:

  • Unlock your Mac: Instead of inputting your password when you turn on your iMac or wake it up, use your fingerprint. For extra security, your iMac sometimes requires your password to enable further use of Touch ID in this manner.
  • Apple Pay: When purchasing things through Safari, you are presented with your saved payment methods and the option to use Touch ID instead of entering your password.
  • iTunes Store, App Store, and Apple Books: When purchasing things through Apple's services, use your fingerprint to complete the transaction using your stored payment method.
  • Password AutoFill: When prompted for a password you previously saved, use Touch ID to fill in the password automatically.
  • Fast user switching: If you have fast user switching enabled, you can select your account in the fast user switching menu and then complete the process with your fingerprint instead of typing your password.

Why Is My Touch ID Not Working on My iMac?

A handful of circumstances can cause Touch ID to not work on an iMac, including problems with your fingerprint and security settings on the iMac. Here are the most common problems:

  • Fingerprint not recognized: If your iMac tells you your fingerprint isn't recognized, make sure both your finger and the Touch ID button are clean and dry and then try again. Cuts on your finger or dry skin can prevent the sensor from correctly reading your fingerprint, and Touch ID fails. Reposition your finger on the sensor or use a different finger if you have more than one fingerprint set up.
  • Password still required: Your iMac typically requires a password when you first start it up, after which you can wake it up with Touch ID. You are also prompted for a password if your iMac has been on for over 48 hours or if Touch ID fails to correctly identify your fingerprint five times in a row.
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