New York City's MTA Urges Apple to Further Protect Riders During Pandemic

In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, New York City's transit agency MTA has encouraged Apple to accelerate the deployment of technology-based solutions to further protect users amid the global health crisis.

nyc mta subway mask
MTA Chairman Patrick Foye said riders have been seen removing their masks to unlock their iPhones using Face ID, despite a recent software update by Apple that makes it easier for masked users to enter their passcode instead.

"We understand Apple is working to address the issue and know that Apple has a range of technologies at its disposal as a global leader among tech companies," Foye wrote in the letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook. "We urge Apple to accelerate the deployment of new technologies and solutions that further protect customers in the era of COVID-19."

Foye said that the MTA would be willing to collaborate with Apple to promote a recent change in iOS 13.5 that allows a masked user to swipe up on the screen to immediately bring up the passcode interface when unlocking their iPhone. This could discourage people from taking off their mask briefly to unlock with Face ID, which does not work with masks.

The report notes that the MTA lost more than 90 percent of its subway ridership during the height of the COVID-19 lockdown in the New York area. Ridership is said to have slowly increased again, but still lags far behind pre-pandemic levels.

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Top Rated Comments

1144557 Avatar
23 weeks ago


Even if you believe that masks are effective in stopping the spread of COVID, why would you concerned, if a rider removed his mask for a brief fraction of his ride? Masks do not filter the exhaled air for all particulates. Usually, they simply redirect the airflow up toward the eyes.

Please. There are dozens of scientific studies that masks are SOME level of effectiveness. Its all about things like viral load- a few spores may not make you sick, 10k may. ANY level of lessening the viral load can prevent you from getting it. They REALLY need to start teaching basic science in school again......

Further:



No one has anything to lose wearing one. There is no credible scientific evidence anyone with a medical condition "cant breath" or the other nonsense claim

Unless you are part of the Freedom To Breathe Agency cult. And yes a few seconds does matter. One cough can spread millions of droplets around.

There is more than enough credible evidence that if universal mask-wearing was implemented earlier the death toll would be lower (and yes there was a lot of not sharing info early out of China, so that is not blaming anyone in the US or government directly, this was all best guess early); studies in other countries and in Asia have proved it true where their death tolls were a mere percent of the US.

Anyone questioning it belongs in the hashtag #COVIDIOT. Im not usually a PC "feelings" type of person but that attitude is a direct slap in the face to the families of the dead.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RoboCop001 Avatar
23 weeks ago
lol so Apple should solve every COVID subway and transit problem in the world? lol come on! I'm surprised the TTC isn't the one saying this. "Hey, we can't get our riders to practice safe distancing. Better call Apple!"
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheIguana Avatar
23 weeks ago
Anecdotal evidence, but I have yet to get FaceID to work with my iPhone X while wearing a mask, so whatever they changed in the 13.5 update has done nothing for me day to day.

It would be wonderful out of this if Apple included both TouchID and FaceID on future phones, at least then we get the best of both worlds.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BigJayhawk Avatar
23 weeks ago


Anecdotal evidence, but I have yet to get FaceID to work with my iPhone X while wearing a mask, so whatever they changed in the 13.5 update has done nothing for me day to day.

It would be wonderful out of this if Apple included both TouchID and FaceID on future phones, at least then we get the best of both worlds.

FaceID does not work with a mask on. That is the point made in the article. Apple will not make it work with a mask on they just plan to make the entering of your passcode a faster process for those wearing masks. All of this info is in the article.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ian87w Avatar
23 weeks ago


Anecdotal evidence, but I have yet to get FaceID to work with my iPhone X while wearing a mask, so whatever they changed in the 13.5 update has done nothing for me day to day.

It would be wonderful out of this if Apple included both TouchID and FaceID on future phones, at least then we get the best of both worlds.

The update is not to allow FaceID to work with masks. It is to bring up the Pin pad right away instead of waiting for FaceID to fail its scan.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lenard Avatar
23 weeks ago


Please. There are dozens of scientific studies that masks are SOME level of effectiveness. Its all about things like viral load- a few spores may not make you sick, 10k may. ANY level of lessening the viral load can prevent you from getting it. They REALLY need to start teaching basic science in school again......

Further:



No one has anything to lose wearing one. There is no credible scientific evidence anyone with a medical condition "cant breath" or the other nonsense claim

Unless you are part of the Freedom To Breathe Agency cult. And yes a few seconds does matter. One cough can spread millions of droplets around.

There is more than enough credible evidence that if universal mask-wearing was implemented earlier the death toll would be lower (and yes there was a lot of not sharing info early out of China, so that is not blaming anyone in the US or government directly, this was all best guess early); studies in other countries and in Asia have proved it true where their death tolls were a mere percent of the US.

Anyone questioning it belongs in the hashtag #COVIDIOT. Im not usually a PC "feelings" type of person but that attitude is a direct slap in the face to the families of the dead.

I sure wish we had a trillion people like you that understanding this as I do also and perhaps we all would be in a better shape today. Actually common sense should tell anyone with a brain that some protection is even better than no
protection...
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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