These iPhones can now also be unlocked with a mask

Photo: Watson

Automatic facial recognition (“FaceID”) now works with a mask. And Apple has also thought about people who wear glasses.

03/15/2022, 12:0303/16/2022, 09:19

Daniel Shorter
Daniel Shorter

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It took a long time. But now the feature many iPhone users crave is finally here: to unlock the device using automatic facial recognition (“FaceID”), you no longer have to type in the code (or swipe the mask under your chin).

Apple released iOS 15.4 on Monday evening. iPhone OS update brings “Face ID with mask”. However, with limitations…

How do you activate this?

First you need to update the software. iOS 15.4 must be installed on iPhone.

After a successful update, you can be guided through the setup in just a few steps. All that is required initially is a new 3D face scan (without mask). The entire setup process takes a few minutes, plus the time required to download the update.

What iPhones are “Face ID with Mask” available for?

Apple writes:

“On iPhone 12 models and iPhone 13 models running iOS 15.4 (or later), you can use Face ID to unlock your iPhone when you’re wearing a face mask (or other mouth and nose cover).”

People who own an iPhone 11, iPhone XS, XR, or iPhone X are looking to drain — older devices that also offer automatic facial recognition (Face ID).

So it also works with a scarf on your face?

Yeah. Watson tried it. Our test device (iPhone 12) reliably unlocks the screen even when covered and leaves only the eye area exposed.

Do you also work with closed eyes or dark sunglasses?

number. Sunglasses and mask are prohibited.

Apple writes:

And the:

“Face ID will always check for attention when you’re wearing a mask.”

So it doesn’t matter (in regards to unlocking with a face mask) whether you have activated Face ID Attention Check or not.

In fact, our test device can be With a mask and only one eye open Open easily. However, if both eyes are closed, it will not work. And you can’t do anything with the mask and sunglasses – the unlock code must be written here.

What about people who wear glasses?

In the device settings (> «Face ID & Code»), glasses with transparent lenses can be added to your look. All you have to do is click on “Add Glasses” and follow the instructions that appear.

“Important,” according to Apple:

“If you normally wear glasses, after turning on the Face ID with mask option, you can improve the accuracy of Face ID recognition by wearing glasses with clear lenses (not sunglasses).”


Why does this only come now?

Most likely for security reasons. Apple engineers had to modify Face ID technology to find a reasonable compromise – in terms of ease of use and protection against unauthorized access.

Which brings me to the funny or annoying detail, depending on your point of view: A year ago, Watson reported a very rare software bug that a Watson employee encountered. While millions of iPhone users have cursed relatively annoying facial recognition during the pandemic, Markus Fischer was suddenly able to unlock his iPhone with a mask after updating iOS without any issues.

Is this still necessary?

The Covid-19 pandemic is far from over, quite the contrary. Infection is currently on the rise again, which increases the risk of more serious mutations.

The risk of transmission indoors can be reduced by constantly wearing an FFP2 mask. You are not only protecting yourself, but also your fellow human beings who have to fear a dangerous course of the disease.

The German virologist says that every infection avoided is a victory for the health system and against the virus.

The German virologist says that every infection avoided is a victory for the health system and against the virus.Screenshot: Twitter

What about Apple Pay?

The “Face ID with Mask” function is available for contactless payments with Apple Pay. And access to saved passwords is also possible with a mask.

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Correction: A previous version of the article incorrectly stated that Apple Pay does not work with a mask.

Ironically, when shopping, i.e. in the most common everyday situation where you want to operate your iPhone with a mask on, you still have to type in the code. Unless you’re wearing an Apple Watch on your wrist (see below).

Is Face ID With Mask Safe?

Apple’s automatic facial recognition (Face ID) is generally considered a very secure and reliable biometric authentication method. It is also an optional function for the user: if you want to make it impossible to unlock quickly – for example under duress – it is better to deactivate Face ID completely and assign a long code consisting of numbers, letters and special characters.

The reliability of the 3D face scanner is likely to be tested in the near future. After Apple’s Face ID was launched with the iPhone X in 2017, there were separate reports that facial recognition could be tricked, for example by twins. There are no really serious vulnerabilities known yet.

If you activate the “Face ID with Mask” option in the device settings, individual facial features around the eyes will be deeply analyzed. But no fear! This vital data never leaves the device and is only saved in a form that does not allow for facial reconstruction. Only a mathematical model of the face is stored in a protected memory area of ​​the iPhone itself (the “Secure Enclave”).

And if you’re wearing an Apple Watch?

iPhone can still be used Unlock easily without facial recognition or typing the code – If you are wearing an Apple Watch (paired with the device) and have activated the corresponding function in the device settings. This has been possible since the spring of 2021.

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According to the manufacturer, the smartwatch can be used with all iPhone models that support the use of Face ID with a face mask. So Apple Pay is also available at the click of a button.


‘A lot of them are still wearing it’ – this is what it looks like after the end of the mask requirements in stores

Video: watson / een

This brings the new iPhone software iOS 15


This brings the new iPhone software iOS 15

Source: Central Bulletin / Apple

Are you weary by those who refuse to wear masks on public transportation? Here comes help!

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