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It's About to Get Easier to Unlock Your iPhone While Wearing a Mask

Your iPhone is getting a new feature that lets you unlock it using Face ID even if you're wearing a mask. The catch? You also need to have an Apple Watch.

apple watch series 6
Tucker Bowe

Everybody is wearing a mask these days and that's been an inconvenience for pretty much everybody who owns an iPhone because it's rendered Face ID much less useful. Fortunately there is a fix, if you have an Apple Watch.

Last May, Apple attempted to remedy this issue when it rolled out iOS 13.5, which enabled Face ID to be detect if you were wearing a mask, and then quickly switch to the passcode screen. Now, in the upcoming iOS 14.5, and there's a new feature that promises to help you unlock your iPhone even quicker if you're wearing a mask and an Apple Watch. The feature, when enabled, will automatically unlock your iPhone even if you are wearing a mask, and vibrate your Apple Watch to let you know that it happened. That's it!


Apple Watch SE

Apple amazon.com

There are a few caveats to this new feature. First, your iPhone and Apple Watch just have to be in close proximity to one another; if your Apple Watch isn't nearby, your iPhone will make you type in your passcode. Also, this feature won't work if you have a passcode on your Apple Watch. And finally, if you unlock your iPhone with this new method, you'll still have to enter your passcode (or take off your mask for true Face ID) when making in-app purchases.

The main release of iOS 14.5 hasn't happened yet, but you can register as a beta tester and pick it up that way if you're really jonesing.

As is true with all beta software updates, we strongly recommend backing up your iPhone beforehand because beta versions often have bugs and could potentially cause you to lose things that you hold dear, like photos or iMessages.


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