Now Apple has a fix. Debuting in iOS 14.5, which just dropped in the developer channel on Monday and should reach public beta testers soon, the new feature will allow you to unlock your phone or display notifications using Face ID when wearing a mask, provided you’re wearing an Apple Watch.
Similar to Auto Unlock on the Mac, your Apple Watch will send an authentication approval to the iPhone when Face ID recognizes the user is wearing a mask and unlock without needing to type in a passcode. If you swipe up, you’ll briefly see an “Unlocking with Apple Watch” screen and your iPhone will unlock as normal. The new feature only works for unlocking and can’t be used for purchases or passwords.
The new feature can be turned on in the Face ID and passcode tab in the Settings app.
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Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.