Apple has introduced a useful new feature during the Apple Spring Loaded event that allows users to easily unlock their iPhones while wearing a mask.
Starting in iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4, users will be able to securely unlock their iPhone using FaceID even if they’re wearing a face mask. Users can turn the feature on by heading to Settings > Face ID & Passcode and enable “Unlock with Apple Watch” feature. You must be using an iPhone X and Apple Watch Series 3 or later.
You have to make sure that both devices are paired and that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are enabled for the feature to work. The Apple Watch also needs to be on a on the user’s wrist and unlocked.
We tested the feature and the proximity appears to be fairly wide. You have to properly wear your mask to be able to use this feature. Masks that are improperly worn like when the nose is not properly covered will not activate this feature. Also, this feature will not work when your iPhone is in Do not disturb mode or in bedtime mode.
When your iPhone unlocks, your Apple Watch sends you a notification and you can choose a prompt to unlock your iPhone back. This feature only unlocks your handset and can’t be used to initiate Apple Pay transactions or authenticate password protected applications.
We love this feature and how it is implemented. It helps us be more secure and avoid prying eyes when entering our password in public in the age where we are all wearing a face mask in light of the pandemic. We hope to see this feature with the upcoming iPadOS 15.