Apple finally released iOS 15.4 for all users. With this software update, the company is allowing users to unlock their iPhone using Face ID while wearing a mask. Here’s everything you need to know about this feature.
Right after you update your iPhone to iOS 15.4, a new prompt screen will appear explaining the new “Use Face ID with a Mask” feature. Although Apple is effectively giving users this new option, the company is telling its customers that Face ID is the most secure wi5-only full face recognition:
“Face ID is more accurate when set up for full-face recognition only. To use Face ID while wearing a mask, the iPhone can recognize unique features around the eye for authentication.”
How does Face ID work with the mask? What is the difference between unlocking the Apple Watch and this new feature?
With iOS 15.4, users can use Face ID with the mask. As Apple explains, the TrueDepth system attempts to “recognize unique features around the eye to authenticate” your face. With the Apple Watch unlocked, on the other hand, the TrueDepth system only looks for the mask. So, if the system gets the mask and the user is wearing the Apple Watch, the iPhone will be unlocked automatically.
This is why Apple gives users the ability to lock the iPhone with the Apple Watch to avoid unintended false authentications.
Face ID with mask works with Apple Pay and third-party apps
As explained above, because the TrueDepth system actively scans your face, Apple allows Face ID to authenticate access to third-party apps and even use Apple Pay.
If you’re used to unlocking your iPhone while wearing a mask with your Apple Watch, you know that a banking app, WhatsApp, and other apps that use facial recognition authentication can’t be unlocked.
Now, with iOS 15.4 and this new feature, you can use your iPhone because you weren’t wearing a mask.
Face ID also works with glasses and mask, but not with sunglasses
Apple not only makes it possible to use facial recognition with a mask, but it is also improving Face ID with glasses. The company explains:
“Using Face ID while wearing the mask works best when it is set up to recognize every pair of glasses you wear regularly. Face ID with the mask does not support sunglasses.”
Since setting up facial recognition with a mask requires the TrueDepth system to analyze only the area of your eyes, it wouldn’t make sense to have that part covered by sunglasses. This feature is available after setting up facial recognition with a mask.
Device Compatibility: iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad
To use Face ID with a mask, users do not need an Apple Watch, but there is a device compatibility issue as Apple only offers this feature for users of iPhone 12 or later. The company hasn’t explained why, but iPhone X, XR, XS and 11 owners won’t be able to take advantage of this functionality.
With iOS 15.4, here are the users who can use Face ID with a mask:
- iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro;
- iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro.
For those who have a 2018 iPad Pro or M1 iPad Pro, I’m sorry to report that iPadOS 15.4 doesn’t add any changes to how Face ID works on its tablets, which means there are no improvements in terms of wearing glasses or a mask.
In the same way that the company does not allow you to unlock your iPad Pro with your Apple Watch, you also cannot take advantage of this iOS 15.4 feature on your iPad.
How to use Face ID with the mask?
- After installing iOS 15.4 for the first time, you will see the splash screen for setting up Face ID with a mask on iPhone 12 or 13
- If you choose “set up later” at first, head to Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Use Face ID with a mask To return to the feature and turn it on
- Follow the instructions to re-register your face to use with a mask
- If you wear glasses in the first scan, iOS will ask you to remove them for the second time
- If you don’t currently wear glasses but do occasionally, you’ll see Add glasses button after setting the feature.
Here’s our full guide to post about this new feature along with other tips.
When will iOS 15.4 be available to all users?
iOS 15.4 is now available to all users. iPad and Mac users can also take advantage of another great feature: Universal Control. UC was first previewed during WWDC21 and is now available to everyone as well.
Do you still have questions about this feature? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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