Chances are if you’ve been using your iPhone since the very beginning of the pandemic, you will no doubt be familiar with the frustrations that come with tapping in your PIN number every time you need to access your phone. Despite being one of the most cutting-edge pieces of mobile technology available, the iPhone was hobbled with one obvious handicap after Touch ID was phased out in the iPhone X: Face ID. And it didn’t work with face masks that have become part and parcel of a life in the ‘new normal’.
Apple has previously tried to circumvent the hassle of unlocking your iPhone with a mask on by offering users the option to tap on their Apple Watches when prompted to bypass the need for a password or PIN input, but bear in mind, not everyone has or necessarily wants an Apple Watch.
Face ID now works with a mask in Apple’s iOS 15.4 update!
However, that is now set to change with the latest iOS 15 update being pushed out to all iOS-enabled devices starting from today, as Apple has officially introduced one of its most highly-anticipated features yet: using Face ID with a mask. Previously released in Beta form, Face ID with a mask will now finally allow iPhone users to make full-use of their Face ID biometric system, even while they have their face-masks on.
According to 9to5 Mac, users will be prompted to enable the new feature on their phones the moment they have successfully updated and installed iOS 15.4. However, do keep in mind that Face ID with a mask will only work on iPhone 12 and up. Users will also be reminded with a message that Face ID still offers the most reliable mode of biometric security on iOS devices, prior to allowing users to activate the feature.
“Face ID is most accurate when it’s set up for full-face recognition only. To use Face ID while wearing a mask, iPhone can recognize the unique features around the eye to authenticate.”
It works on third-party applications as well
The technology behind Face ID with a mask is predictably quite similar to that of the regular Face ID from which it is built upon, with the only difference being that Apple’s TrueDepth system will now also attempt to “recognize the unique features around the eye to authenticate” your face, while you have a mask on.
What’s more, the feature is already integrated into Apple Pay as well as a handful of other third-party applications. But iPad users will continue to miss out on this it entirely.
If you have already updated your iPhone to iOS 15.4 but decide to set-up Face ID with a mask later when initially prompted, here’s how you can do it in the ‘Settings’ menu.
- Go to ‘Settings’
- Scroll down to ‘Face ID & Passwords’ and tap on it
- Scroll down to ‘Use Face ID With a Mask’ and tap on it
- Follow the prompts as instructed. You may be told to remove your glasses during the first scan, if you wear glasses.
- Once completed, you can choose to ‘Add Glasses’ once you have completed the initial scan.