Solved: iPhone 5s unable to activate touch ID on this iPhone error

About a month ago I encountered the following error on my iPhone 5S:

Unable to activate Touch ID on this iPhone

And sure enough, the Touch ID to log in was not working. When I logged in using my passcode, I went into the Touch ID settings in the Settings app, and saw that Touch ID was disabled. When I enabled it, it briefly popped up the setup screen to enrol fingerprints but then there was a further error window. After dismissing this window, I saw that Touch ID was  disabled again.

The other symptom I noticed on this was that it seemed to occur after I’d charged the phone and it was slightly warm. Once or twice I was able to get Touch ID working again after I powered off the phone and started it up. There was no real consistency in this.

The Investigation

Thinking it may be a potential thermal expansion issue, I opened up the phone. After lifting up the front display glass/LCD assembly, I noticed that the Touch ID / home button flex retainer bracket/clip was slightly misaligned but still in place. The retainer is a tiny metal clip that holds the flex cable from the Touch ID sensor/home button assembly.

I didn’t even think anything of it, since the home button worked, but I started getting a little suspicious. Perhaps the heat of the charging caused some expansion, causing just enough expansion to cause contacts to be broken, and resulting in this intermittent behaviour. And why was the clip slightly out of place? Maybe from dropping the phone, who knows…

I popped the clip in with a satisfying click and fired up the phone, hoping for the best. Sure enough, problem solved. It has been fine for a month now.

How to Fix

It’s an easy fix with the right tools (thanks, iFixit). There are two screws next to the Lightning connector on the bottom of the phone that have to be removed and the front glass assembly will lift off. The main trick is just being careful lifting up the front glass carefully from the bottom.

It’s a tight and frustrating to separate the two parts, and lifting the glass too far (about 2″) may stretch and damage the Touch ID flex.

No other parts need to be removed to fix this, so it’s easy.

Instructions on home button removal on iFixit are here:

You basically go to step 9, ensure the metal bracket is securely in place, then put it all back together.


Single but Coupled

I read with interest Isabelle Tessier’s article entitled I Want To Be Single – But With You  in HuffPost recently.

Essentially, it’s an expression of desire of people who don’t want to lose themselves the moment they get into a relationship, and to approach them with the mindset of still being one’s true self rather than becoming complete only with a partner.

She wants something that is the best of both single and coupled worlds. To have all the comforts of a relationship, but to excise the negative, awkward parts, I think is attainable with the model she’s suggesting.

She doesn’t eschew relationships, and nor do I, just that a special relationship that she describes is one that is absolutely realistic and worth seeking out, despite online criticisms that it is too idealistic.

My  beliefs for long term happiness – core, personality, freedoms:

Strong Core

A joint set of beliefs that are near-immutable, or at least change slowly over time, but should always be compatible. These are things most couples would argue over:

  • Love (expression of affections, mutual support – what kind and how much – always holding hands, or is there just an occasional need to feel connected?)
  • Money attitudes (separate accounts vs. joint, investment and spending strategies)
  • Values (respect, attitude towards societal values, rights, culture, conservatism, liberalism, etc.)
  • Religion (either both are, or one is supportive of the other)

Cores should be as lightweight as possible, but strong. The Core should provide a basis of predicting how one’s partner would behave under different circumstances and should offer few surprises.

Compatible Personality Traits

Beyond core beliefs, we get into the complex land of personalities. I won’t dive into detail into personality types or models like Myers-Briggs or Big 5, but I believe there is benefit in understanding personality types.

Dealing with this in terms of not one type being better than another, but how they interact within a relationship, is the key.

The personality types between two people can be viewed as being on a spectrum between completely identical through complete mirror images, with everything in between.

At one end of the spectrum, identical or extremely similar personality types can make it easier to get along at different levels, but may not provide a longer-term challenge or personal growth potential, so relationships between similar personalities may require external factors to create the stimulation required to last. An alternative is for one of the partners to become the lead; i.e. the more extroverted partner in a pair of extroverts may become more extroverted in order to create that idealized balance.

At the other end, totally incompatible types could cause occasional friction, but could provide ways for the individual couple members to achieve great personal growth if they are open to discussing them.

Compatible non-matching personality traits

Some non-matching personality traits can be viewed as a plus, where both partners

  • Spontaneous / Laid back – One’s laid back and the other isn’t – the “A” type personality could learn to relax a little; the other could learn to get a little more organized
  • Introvert / extrovert – a more extroverted person could pry open the world a little for the introvert
  • Risk-taker / risk-averse – again, opening worlds a little for one, perhaps encouraging taking a pause to consider options for the risk taker
  • Observing / Intuiting – taking the world as it is versus dreaming about how it could be. Not a bad combination either.

This is a lot like “marry your opposite” sort of advice – basically that may be fine of opposite traits can balance, but there may be a limit to how many of these personality traits one may be able to put up with before two people declare themselves out of balance and incompatible.

One partner’s group of traits may come off as more overbearing, superior, or forceful than the other, or unhealthy dependencies or opportunities for strong personalities to butt heads often may arise.

In fact, having a complete opposite in terms of Myers-Briggs types is in one theory the worst and least compatible option for anyone, leading to conflicts where partners know how to inflict maximum pain on each other’s weak spots because there are no shared strengths.

Also, the “opposite” argument does not apply to the Core, which is where you want to “marry your equal”.

It’s not even like the clichéd “you complete me”. I will complete myself, thank you very much. But I’ll definitely appreciate your help.

Incompatible Non-matching personality Traits

While any two well-sorted individuals can work things out, there are some trait matchups that can be tougher.

Thinkers vs. Feelers:  The thinker in a relationship is often a facts-based, less emotionally driven person, and able to take constructive criticism. This can conflict easily with a feeling partner who is more sensitive to conflict and criticism. The Feeler may require more assurances and visible appreciation, and would need to communicate this properly to their partner.

Two thinkers together may have a more harmonious relationship, but then they may have this mutual blind spot with regards to interacting with other Feeling people.


This would be the freedom to pursue one’s goals for growth, to do whatever you want, when you want, to be in the company of whomever you want. These are conflated with single person’s freedoms only because they imply a single person has fewer responsibilities than someone in a relationship, which is false, but makes for quick understanding of the point that’s being made about being single, but in a couple.

It’s about being able to do things without being controlled by others, or to feel like you have to follow certain rules. The way to do that is either through singlehood, or by finding the right kind of partner who thinks the same way.

Article, Redux

Here is my man’s take on Tessier’s article with a more personal spin on it:

I want to be single with you.

I want you to go have drinks with your friends without me. I would probably feel like a third wheel anyway, but we are both more interesting to each other when we are not always joined at the hip. I want you to be completely relaxed, not worry about whether or not someone else is having fun, and enjoy every moment. Of course I want you to come home safely and I’ll be there to drive you all home if you need it.

I want you to tell me about the guy who chatted and flirted with you. I know that makes you happy, and it makes you more desirable to me. Just as you would point out an attractive woman to me that I may not have noticed. We feel happy and secure in being able to do that.

I want to spend time together, but apart mentally. We can be in the same room, you on your book, me on my iPad, lost in our own worlds, not needing to say anything, but content that this is OK and we still have an unspoken, unbreakable connection.

When we are at parties together, we circulate among different groups of people, covering more ground to talk about later. Once in a while you’ll glance over and catch my eye and with a glint in your eye or a quick smile, we touch base over this remote connection, “Hey, I love you, just wanted to let you know that”. Or, if we have a chance, I may just touch you gently on your arm in passing. And that’s all we need. I don’t need to hover around you unless there’s a good conversation happening or you need me to come rescue you from a boring one.

Because we’re both introverts, I know your energy level dealing with social situations is not great, and neither is mine, so we know that we can subtly signal each other to leave the party. When we get home, we may quietly retreat to our own physical or mind space, and that’s OK, because that’s how we recharge after these situations.

I want to plan, but not too much. To be in Paris and have a place to stay, but not to have every day planned like a military operation. Only as much structure as needed with freedom to roam – that’s the nature of our relationship.

I want you to have your freedom. To go far away on your own for weeks to go to places or things you love. I struggle sometimes because you’ll be away from me, of course, but I know that you would encourage the same of me and be wholly supportive. I want to be that ideal person, and the more I do it, the closer I become to being him.

I want you to be strong. I will help you become stronger. I want to take away your self-doubts, your insecurities, and all the things that keep you from fulfilling your potential. I need you do the same for me; it is always easier to help someone else than yourself. There will be times you will be strong and I will be weak, and vice-versa.

I want to help you grow in the ways that I am stronger in, just as you are strong in ways that I am not. I will encourage, cajole, nag, and do things I feel will be good for you because I love you and I know you, deep down, want to do them and can do them, except for the fears I am helping you break down.

I want you to have your own job or passions. I do not want you to ever look back with regret on a road not taken, and if I have to give you up so you can pursue your passions, I would be willing to do so. I want to stoke that competitive fire and passion, not extinguish it, because I see in your eyes how excited you are, and how alive you are, when you have a cause you care about.

I want you to challenge me mentally. I want to hear your opinions, and I want them sometimes to be different from mine, just in case mine are wrong, and I want to keep my mind open to all things in the universe.

I want you to be honest with me as I will be with you. Brutal honesty is my only way. I cannot live a lie, and I cannot tell them. Even white lies I struggle with. I would be hard-pressed to be a political surrogate. As David Foster Wallace wrote, “the truth will set you free. But not until it’s finished with you.” Sugar-coating is definitely not my best skill and I know it can hurt.

You get indignant over the words and actions of people, and rightly so. You will be treated badly by others. As a man, I recognize I have blinders on and may not always notice the sexist world we live in, but I am trying, and my eyes are opening. I will always try to see things from your perspective, and I will always unconditionally defend you and back you.

I want to have fun and be silly with you. I know you’ll be aghast at my dance “moves” or jokes, but I am trying to impress you as well as lower my self-censoring and self-deprecating behaviour. I want to make you laugh, because I want you to be happy and because that in turn makes me happy.

I will give you space. You may need time and space to recharge or gather your thoughts just like I do. Even though it may be agonizing silence in the meantime, I acknowledge you may need to do this as a defensive mechanism even though you know I am always here for you. I only ask the same of you. I am never far, just involved in my thoughts and I appreciate your efforts to check in on me.

I don’t need lavish gifts or celebrations of the “Hallmark” holidays. A random thoughtful favourite chocolate bar is what I need, or something small I may have mentioned in passing, which says you were listening to me. Just an occasional reminder that we have a special connection is all I need to thrive. But I want to celebrate the meaningful days of our life – birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, graduations.

I want to have things we do together. While it is important to grow individually and be “single but together”, we don’t lose sight that there are benefits to sharing and having fun together. Maybe we’ll run and workout together, go on a kayaking expedition, take up a cooking class, or simply cuddle up while binge watching Netflix.

We will find each other.

Javascript or JQuery – which first?

I’ve been asked this quite a number of times recently – should a web developer learn JQuery or Javascript first?  And presumably pick up the other later.

This question would likely apply to other Javascript libraries or frameworks (e.g. Bootstrap).

In other words, does starting with the fun and useful application of Javascript (JQuery) and seeing web pages come to life help to ease one into the drudgery of learning to program?

I have to admit that I’m a programmer first, thus I would fall into the Javascript first camp somewhat by default. My immediate reaction would therefore have been, “Javascript first, duh.” But I wanted to think it over.

My tendency is to learn the hard, foundational stuff first, then move on to the easier stuff later. It’s a bit like learning to do long division on paper, then moving on to use a calculator.

On the flip side, I admit using a ton of JQuery plug-ins way before I learned to use JQuery itself or even got deep into Javascript. This was driven by the desire to find the absolute best image slider for my ASP.NET website without having to do any coding. So I know there will be people that can quite cheerily create a really nice image slider on a webpage using a few lines of HTML without knowing any programming whatsoever, and it’s fantastic that they can do this, and often for free or very little money.

However, if you want to go beyond simple plug-ins on a page, you rapidly run into needing Javascript knowledge:

  • Any really useful functionality will still be written in Javascript; you need to declare variables, use loops and other constructs
  • JQuery IS Javascript, it’s not an either/or, it just is a simplification of what you can do in Javascript. It lets you code less to do the same thing, which is the hallmark of a good framework
  • Some of JQuery’s syntax of passing functions as parameters and nesting of functions within functions or objects can look very intimidating visually (and tough to unravel mentally) compared to starting with Javascript first
  • Knowledge of things like events, event listeners, the DOM, etc. are still required in order for a page to do something useful
  • Understanding how something works at a basic level I feel is crucial so that you know how a framework simplifies it for you (the long division argument above) – for example, knowing that a JQuery function might be implemented as 3-4 lines of Javascript code takes some of the mystery out of JQuery
  • There are many other frameworks based on Javascript, so learning the root Javascript language will help you understand how these frameworks work
  • Debugging is facilitated by knowing the underlying Javascript code – sometimes an error will occur in the JQuery code that you’ll have to figure out why.

So, for budding web designers, I’m firmly in the bottom-up “learn some programming basics first” camp, which can be done conveniently with Javascript, and then learn the simplifications later. I was also supported in this view by hearing responses to my question, “Did you actually know what you were typing, or were you just guessing and fiddling with your JQuery code until you got it to work?”

There can be a dividing line – learn programming basics, then move to DOM events and listeners, manipulating DOM elements, and once you’re comfortable writing a couple of simple interactive pages, dive into JQuery and see how those same things can be simplified substantially. You’ll understand those magic incantations better.

The only real exception is if you are going to strictly use the framework to do some of the fun UI plug-in stuff – if you can figure out how to tweak your HTML to add a JQuery plug-in, go right ahead and good luck!