A common complaint from owners of an iPhone with Face ID is that you cannot unlock the iPhone if you wear a face mask. Apple did add an improvement in iOS 13.5, so that the passcode was immediately displayed as soon as a mouth mask is recognized. But in iOS 14.5, Apple takes it a step further. Your Apple Watch can then unlock your iPhone if you wear a mouth mask.
iOS 14.5 adds iPhone unlock via Apple Watch
The feature has surfaced in the current beta of iOS 14.5. In the Face ID and passcode setting is now an option for Unlock with Apple Watch. You can turn the switch on here (provided the Apple Watch has been updated to watchOS 7.4, which is now also in beta), so that unlocking your iPhone becomes easier. As soon as the iPhone sees that you are wearing a mouth mask, the Apple Watch unlocks your iPhone. It only works on iPhones with Face ID and your Apple Watch must meet a number of conditions.
For example, the Apple Watch must be nearby to prevent someone from just grabbing and unlocking your iPhone. The Apple Watch must also be worn on your wrist, unlocked and secured with a passcode. It is not yet clear whether there are any special hardware requirements. For example, Apple could use the U1 chip in the Apple Watch Series 6 to measure the distance between the iPhone and Apple Watch more accurately.
To use this function, you need at least iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4. Both versions are still in beta. We expect the final versions sometime this spring, probably in March.
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