Tuesday, May 11, 2021

iOS 14.5 will allow Apple Watch owners to unlock iPhones while wearing a mask

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While the full version won’t arrive for some time, Apple has just released the first IOS 14.5 beta developer today, and one change may be more immediately useful than all the others. Once installed, the update will allow users to unlock their iPhones via Face ID even while wearing a mask.

There is, unfortunately, one major caveat: the feature only works if the iPhone owner is also wearing an Apple Watch. As long as the watch itself is already unlocked, you will just have to look at your iPhone as usual; after that you will get a haptic buzz on your wrist notifying you that the unlock was successful. As we understand, the feature – which must be activated manually before use – allows Face ID to proceed with an unlock despite having much lower facial recognition accuracy, as the nearby watch has already been authenticated. You will also be able to lock your phone from your Apple Watch, but it should be noted that all other actions that could be based on a facial recognition unlock – like, for example, approving a purchase from the App Store – cannot be managed in this way.

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