Apple to Make It Easier to Unlock Your iPhone While Wearing a Face Mask

Apple is changing the default unlock screen behaviour to skip the Face ID screen when you are wearing a mask.

Apple to Make It Easier to Unlock Your iPhone While Wearing a Face Mask

Apple is bringing the change for iPhone X and later models that have Face ID support

  • iOS 13.5 latest beta brings passcode-entry screen when wearing a mask
  • Apple would soon bring the change to its public iOS release
  • However, it is initially limited for developers

Apple is found to have a new feature in the pipeline that will make it easier to unlock your Face ID-supporting iPhone even while wearing a face mask. The new change, which users have spotted within the latest developer beta version of iOS 13.5, essentially skips the Face ID functionality and lets you enter your passcode directly if you have a mask on your face. It is useful especially in the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that has brought many changes to our lives, and one of those is the general practice of wearing face masks while stepping out of homes.

By default, the iPhone X and later models use Face ID for authentication, based on the facial data it gets from the TrueDepth camera. Users also, however, have the option to swipe up the screen and enter their passcode. But in the latest iOS 13.5 developer beta build, Apple has enabled the system to jump directly to the passcode-entry screen if Face ID detects a mask — or any similar object on your face. This skips the default Face ID screen as well as the “Swipe up to unlock” option.

Users including Robert Petersen have posted screenshots on Twitter to give a glimpse at the new addition.


Limited to developers initially
Initially, the feature is provided only to developers through the latest iOS 13.5 beta version. It is, however, expected that Apple would bring it to the public in the coming days.

The fresh change is welcomed by many users as it allows people to unlock their iPhone without removing their face mask. Some tricked solutions existed in the past to train Face ID to unlock an iPhone with a mask. However, Apple hasn't yet provided a native option. It is also, of course, not recommended to use an unofficial way for unlocking as it may eventually put your precious data at risk.

Having said that, the subtle change added to the developer beta still requires users to enter their passcode.

API to enable contact tracing through third-party apps
Alongside the update designed to ease unlocking, the new iOS 13.5 developer beta build includes an API that Apple and Google have developed in partnership to allow contact tracing apps curb the coronavirus spread globally. There is a dedicated setting to enable notifications through third-party contact tracing apps. Moreover, both tech giants are in plans to ultimately enable contact tracing intrinsically on Android and iOS devices.

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Further reading: Face ID, iOS 13.5, Apple
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