iOS 15.4 includes new feature that will make it easier to use Face ID while wearing a face mask
Apple has added a new feature in today’s first iOS 15.4 developer beta that makes it possible for users to unlock their iPhone while wearing a face mask without having to authenticate with an Apple Watch.
Apple included a new “Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch” feature with iOS 14.5 last year that allowed an iPhone to detect whether or not a face-covering was being worn by the user. If so, “Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch” would verify as much of the user’s face as possible with the face mask on, then unlock the device based on if the user is wearing an Apple Watch which has been unlocked by a passcode.
The feature made it simpler for users who wear face masks but didn’t fully alleviate the issue. However, Apple is now testing a new way for unlocking iPhones when a full Face ID scan can’t be completed because a face-covering is being worn.
With iOS 15.4, Apple has added a new toggle in the Settings app called “Use Face ID with a Mask.” When enabled, this feature will “recognize the unique features around the eye” for authentication purposes, requiring users to rescan their face for the feature to work.
iOS 15.4 beta adds support for Face ID unlocking with a mask on. This worked right away for me and it's amazing.
– You can enable it after the update or in Settings later
– You can add support for glasses while wearing masks
– No support for sunglasses with a mask on pic.twitter.com/lzjJ30i5wF
— Federico Viticci (@viticci) January 27, 2022
Apple touts that the new feature is also available to users who wear glasses, noting that Face ID will recognize glasses worn by the user regularly, though sunglasses are not supported due to the feature requiring the ability to see details around the eyes.
The new “Use Face ID with a Mask” feature is available for the iPhone 12 and above.