iOS 15.4's Face ID With a Mask Feature Requires iPhone 12 or Newer

In today's iOS 15.4 beta that's available to developers, Apple added a useful new feature that changes the way Face ID works. There's now a ‌Face ID‌ with a Mask option that allows the iPhone to be unlocked when you're wearing a mask, but you need to have an iPhone 12 or newer.

MAsk On Face ID iOS 15
Right now, an ‌iPhone‌ can be unlocked with a mask if you have an Apple Watch for authentication to add an extra layer of security, but the new option removes the need for an Apple Watch. ‌Face ID‌ with a Mask works by recognizing the area around the eye when a mask is worn, which is less secure but more convenient. Unlike ‌Face ID‌ with the Apple Watch, the mask version works with Apple Pay and can be used to authenticate third-party apps.

Unfortunately, ‌Face ID‌ with a Mask is limited to some of Apple's newest iPhones, even though ‌Face ID‌ has been available since 2017 with the launch of the ‌iPhone‌ X. As noted on our forums, ‌Face ID‌ with a Mask is only an option on the ‌iPhone 12‌ and later, so you'll need an ‌iPhone 12‌, 12 mini, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max or an iPhone 13, 13 mini, 13 Pro, or 13 Pro Max.

face id add glasses
If you have an ‌iPhone‌ 11 or earlier, you will not see the ‌Face ID‌ with a Mask setup screen when updating to iOS 15.4, nor will you have the option to toggle it on in the Settings app.

It is not clear why Apple has limited ‌Face ID‌ with a Mask to the ‌iPhone 12‌ and newer, but there may be some differences in ‌Face ID‌ hardware over the years that allow it to work for some devices and not others in terms of reasonable security. It's also possible that Apple will expand ‌Face ID‌ with a Mask to older iPhones in future betas.

Related Forum: iOS 15

Top Rated Comments

headlessmike Avatar
13 months ago

I turned off Face ID on my 12 mini Day 1 purchase. Please just bring back Touch ID already!!!
I have to wear gloves five months out of the year due to a recurring thing called “winter”. FaceID beats TouchID hands down.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AlexisV Avatar
13 months ago
Great timing. Today is the day masks are no longer a legal requirement anywhere in England ?
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
44267547 Avatar
13 months ago

Typical Apple. "Hey, if you want this feature, upgrade!".
I don’t think consumers would ever use this as leverage to upgrade. Think about it. They would have to know this feature would even exist in the first place and be annoyed enough to upgrade. (I suspect most average consumers don’t even know how to navigate properly through the settings on iOS.)


Even though there is no hardware-wise limitation.
Source/citation required.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
anshuvorty Avatar
13 months ago
My guess? The ML chip on the iPhone 11 or older devices aren't powerful enough to enable FaceID with Mask, whereas the iPhone 12 and newer phones have the ML chip that is more powerful and can handle the FaceID with Mask feature.

Just my 2 cents...
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
alchemistmuffin Avatar
13 months ago
This is a hardware limitation and it all has to do with two thing: Neural Engine on Ax series chip and the face mapping sensors on iPhone 12s and iPhone 13s

This is how FaceID with mask will basically work. Lot of it is machine learning that requires more processing power.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lcohen34 Avatar
13 months ago
Typical Apple. "Hey, if you want this feature, upgrade!". Even though there is no hardware-wise limitation.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Multi Display CarPlay 1

Apple Launching All-New CarPlay Experience Later This Year With These 5 Features

Sunday January 29, 2023 10:15 am PST by
In June 2022, Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay, promising deeper integration with vehicle functions like A/C and FM radio, support for multiple displays across the dashboard, personalization options, and more. Apple says the first vehicles with support for the next-generation CarPlay experience will be announced in late 2023, with committed automakers including Acura, Audi,...
iphone 15 pro wifi 6e

Internal Apple Document From Leaker 'Unknownz21' Confirms Wi-Fi 6E Will Be Limited to iPhone 15 Pro Models

Friday January 27, 2023 10:01 am PST by
Multiple rumors have suggested that the next-generation iPhone 15 models will adopt the Wi-Fi 6E standard that Apple has already introduced in the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro, and now a leaked document appears to confirm Apple's plans. Sourced from researcher and Apple leaker Unknownz21 (@URedditor), the document features diagrams of the iPhone 15's antenna architecture. D8x refers to the...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Pro Rumored to Have These 8 Features

Friday January 27, 2023 2:11 pm PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are expected to be announced in September as usual. Already, rumors suggest the devices will have at least eight exclusive features not available on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. An overview of the eight features rumored to be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models:A17 chip: iPhone 15 Pro models will be equipped with an A17...
top stories 28jan2023

Top Stories: iOS 16.3 Released, iPhone 15 Pro Rumors, macOS Tips and Tricks, and More

Saturday January 28, 2023 6:00 am PST by
Following last week's hardware announcements, this week saw the actual release of several of the new products as well as operating system updates bringing new features and bug fixes across Apple's platforms. This week also saw some fresh rumors about the iPhone 15 lineup and Apple's upcoming AR/VR headset, while we shared some tips to help you get the most of your macOS experience, so read...
Foldable iPhone 2023 Feature Blue

Kuo: Apple to Release Foldable iPad With Carbon Fiber Kickstand in 2024

Monday January 30, 2023 12:55 am PST by
Apple will launch a foldable iPad with a carbon fiber kickstand sometime next year, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a series of tweets, Kuo said he expects an "all-new design foldable iPad" to be the next big product launch in the iPad lineup, with no other major iPad releases in the next nine to 12 months. The analyst said he was "positive" that the foldable device would arrive in...
Hero0013

Best Apple Deals of the Week: 2021 MacBook Pro Gets Massive $500 Markdowns as Samsung Discounts TVs and Memory Accessories

Friday January 27, 2023 11:07 am PST by
As we near the end of January, this week we saw a collection of deals on Apple's iPad Pro, iMac, and the 2021 MacBook Pro. Additionally, we're tracking new sales on TVs and memory accessories from Samsung. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Samsung...