During the on-going covid-19 pandemic, wearing a mask is very important to keep yourself safe. Due to its nature, with a face mask on, Face ID on iPhone does not work. Users are required to enter their passcode to unlock the device, a relatively small thing but it is inconvenient and time-consuming.
With iOS 14.5 beta, Apple has added a solution that makes it easier to unlock an iPhone while wearing a mask. With the developer beta of iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4, your iPhone will now automatically unlock when you are wearing a face mask, as long you enable the new option in Settings.
Apple adds a feature to unlock iPhone via Apple Watch with iOS 14.5
If you have installed iOS 14.5 beta, the update will allow you to unlock your iPhones via Face ID while wearing a mask. However, the feature will only work if the iPhone’s owner is also wearing an Apple Watch. This means that as long as the Watch is already unlocked, a user will have to look at their iPhone as usual, and they will get a haptic buzz on their wrist which will indicate that the unlock was successful.
The feature must be manually enabled to use. Users can also lock their iPhone from Apple Watch. Some actions like Apple Pay payments and App Store purchases might not work through this Face ID/Apple Watch pairing, so users will be required to do a full Face ID authentication or enter a passcode.
As reported by Joanna Stern from the Wall Street Journal:
iOS 14.5 developer beta is out and it confirms that Apple is as frustrated as all of us about unlocking the iPhone with a mask on.— Joanna Stern (@JoannaStern) February 1, 2021
It includes a new feature: Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch while wearing a mask. If you are wearing a mask and have an unlocked Apple Watch on your wrist, you can unlock FaceID on your iPhone.— Joanna Stern (@JoannaStern) February 1, 2021
This is the second change Apple has implemented with how Face ID works with face masks. Last April with the release of iOS 13.5, Apple made it easier to skip the Face ID while wearing a mask by automatically presenting the passcode screen.
This is a major change to how Apple Watch and iPhone work together. This is a feature that numerous users have called on Apple to include since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apart from unlocking an iPhone with a face mask on, App Tracking Transparency controls and support for AirPlay 2 with Apple Fitness+ are also included in iOS 14.5 update.