Erik Eckel walks you through the process of adjusting or adding Touch ID to your MacBook Pro.

Macbook Pro with with Retina display
Image: tashka2000/Adobe Stock

When Apple first introduced Touch ID, I thought the feature sounded innovative but unnecessary. Programming the Mac to remember my fingerprint and substitute my touch for entering usernames and passwords sounded nifty, but just how much time would it really save?

In truth, the feature’s proved quite convenient. Now that I’ve been using Touch ID for a few years on my Mac laptops, I’m annoyed every time I can’t just tap my finger to provide my credentials.

SEE: Apple iCloud: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Occasionally, though, it’s necessary to add a fingerprint or adjust Touch ID settings. Here’s how to access those settings on a MacBook Pro.

How to change Touch ID settings on a MacBook Pro

First, open System Preferences, such as by clicking the Apple icon from the Mac menu bar and clicking its entry from the drop-down menu that appears. macOS will display all the corresponding System Preferences options, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

macOS dedicates a standalone Touch ID entry within its Systems Preferences.

Click the Touch ID entry. The Touch ID menu will open, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

The Touch ID preferences permit adding a new fingerprint and configuring several additional options.

Up to five fingerprints can be saved on a Mac. To add a new fingerprint, click the provided icon. macOS will prompt you to enter the password, then the window will update to begin tracking progress recording the new fingerprint, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C

macOS walks users through recording a new Touch ID fingerprint.

Deleting a stored fingerprint is easy. Just highlight the respective stored fingerprint, enter your password, click OK and click Delete.

Touch ID’s preferences permit adjusting other settings, including enabling the feature to perform all the following functions:

  • Unlock the Mac
  • Complete Apple Pay transactions
  • Authorize iTunes Store, App Store and Apple Books purchases
  • Complete Password AutoFill operations
  • Enable Touch ID to permit fast user switching

Simply check the corresponding checkbox or checkboxes to enable Touch ID to perform the respective function. Alternatively, you can clear the individual checkboxes as you wish to disable Touch ID from performing the corresponding action.

Once you’ve completed the changes, you can close the Touch ID preferences window. There’s no need to save the changes separately.

Note that these Touch ID tips are for MacBook Pro users. Some Apple keyboards — such as the $149 Magic Keyboard with Touch ID or the $199 Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keyboard — support using Touch ID with other Apple silicon-powered Macs, too, including the M1-powered Mac mini.

Regardless which Mac you use, I’m convinced it’s worth taking the time to program Touch ID. I use the feature regularly throughout the day to enter credentials, authorize purchases and even unlock password-protected iWorks files.