iOS 14.5 Adds an Option to Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch if You're Wearing a Mask

With the iOS 14.5 update, Apple is finally adding a solution that makes it easier to unlock an iPhone when you're wearing a mask. Right now, with a face mask on, Face ID does not work, requiring those wearing masks to enter a passcode to unlock their devices, a process that is time consuming and inconvenient.

FaceID Masked Teal
In iOS 14.5, there's a new option to unlock an ‌iPhone‌ with Face ID and an Apple Watch paired together, with the Apple Watch's authentication providing an extra layer of security.

If you're wearing an unlocked Apple Watch and use Face ID as you normally would, the ‌iPhone‌ will unlock after a partial face scan. When the unlock happens, you'll feel a haptic buzz and will receive a notification on the Apple Watch informing you that the unlocking procedure was successful, similar to how it works when unlocking a Mac with an Apple Watch.

As noted by Engadget, this feature must be manually enabled to use it, and there's also an option to lock the ‌iPhone‌ from the Apple Watch. Things like App Store purchases and Apple Pay payments will not be able to be authenticated through the Face ID + Apple Watch pairing, so you'll still need full Face ID authentication or a passcode for some actions.

iOS 14.5 also introduces support for the latest Xbox and Playstation controllers, it adds AirPlay 2 support for Apple Fitness+, it brings dual-SIM 5G support, and there's a new feature for asking Siri to call emergency services.

Related Roundups: iOS 14, iPadOS 14
Related Forum: iOS 14

Top Rated Comments

Braderunner Avatar
13 weeks ago
Now...THIS...is exciting!
Score: 60 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MLVC Avatar
13 weeks ago

Bummer that is doesn't work for Apple Pay but I guess I understand why.
Just use your Apple Watch to pay.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Canyda Avatar
13 weeks ago

It is simply false that “Right now, with a face mask on, Face ID does not work”.
One of the selling points of FaceID is that it intelligently adapts to changes in appearance and also that it simply isn’t using a flat photo of your face. If you’ve used a mask for more than a day or two it knows. I can imagine that most people saying this have probably only left their house once over the past year. If you consistently wear the same type of face mask the same way it easily learns. Worked on my last iPhone, continued to work on my new iPhone. A day of inconvenience, but by now most people should have it working.
I've stared at my iPhone with a mask on for most of the last 200 or so days and not once has it unlocked my iPhone with Face ID.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thadoggfather Avatar
13 weeks ago
Great idea! seriously,

(and hilarious icon)
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
clcnyc Avatar
13 weeks ago

Great, just in time to stop wearing masks! ;)
We’re not even close to that point.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ersan191 Avatar
13 weeks ago
Wow you guys are really going to make me get back on the beta train right now??
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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