iPhone set to release an update to allow face unlock with a nose mask.
Apple appears to be testing a feature that will allow you to unlock your phone using Face ID even if you’re wearing a mask.
According to photographs from Brandon Butch on Twitter and MacRumors, the first developer beta of iOS 15.4 contains a prompt asking if you want to be allowed to utilize Face ID while wearing a mask at the risk of reduced security. Unfortunately, according to 9to5Mac, the feature will only be available if you have a newer device.
Apple claims that the “iPhone can distinguish the distinctive features around the eye area to validate itself” based on the screenshots, but advises that if you choose Face ID to not work with a mask, it will be more accurate. This particular feature, however, is not available to everyone.
You’ll need iOS 15.4 installed to use this new feature. iOS 15.4 is now in beta, so if you’re not a beta tester, you’ll have to wait until it’s released to the general public, which we believe to be in March or April. Alternatively, if you’re feeling brave, you may join the beta program. Check out our guide on how to acquire the iOS beta.
With iOS 15.4 installed go to:
- Settings > Face ID & Passcode
- Enter your passcode.
- You will then see some new options including Face ID with Mask
Instead of doing full face recognition, Face ID will “employ the distinctive features around the eye area for authentication” once activated.
Add Glasses is another option (which will come in handy for spectacle wearers!)
Face ID is more accurate if the settings are off, according to Apple. Face ID unlocking in the mask appears to operate exclusively on iPhones 12 and up. We’ll test out the new feature as soon as we have a beta.
While one user confirmed that it worked on his iPhone 12, 9to5Mac claims that it is only compatible with the iPhone 12 and 13 models. They couldn’t utilize it on a 2018 iPad Pro, either. People (and organizations like the New York City MTA) have been screaming for Apple to include a means to unlock iPhones while wearing masks as the pandemic continues.
To assist, Apple has released several updates: iOS 13.5 will identify whether you’re wearing a mask and prompt you for your passcode rather than attempting to validate your face, and iOS 14.5 will allow individuals with Apple Watches to use Face ID while wearing a mask.
(It appears that anyone wearing a skin can unlock the phone as long as their Apple Watch is close enough.) For those who don’t own an Apple Watch, though, this functionality appears to be on the way, if it proves secure enough.