If you’ve ever tried to use Face ID with a mask, pre-— to use or unlock your — you know that it’s a waste of time. Face ID doesn’t recognize you with your face half-covered, so you’re left to either enter your lock screen code manually or pull your mask down underneath your mouth. An introduced an Apple Watch workaround, but if you didn’t have one of Apple’s smartwatches, you were out of luck. Until now, that is.
With, which is technically still in beta, available only to developers and public beta users, you’ll finally be able to use Face ID with a mask on to unlock your device and make payments or enter passcodes on your iPhone. We’ll show you the new feature below, which works only on and models running iOS 15.4.
However, if you don’t want to wait for iOS 15.4 to drop to the general public or you own an, we’ll also walk you through the Apple Watch method. Read on for both options.
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How to use Face ID with a mask (currently in beta)
Note that this new feature from Apple is available only on iOS 15.4, which is currently in beta, and only for the iPhone 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max and the iPhone 13, 13 Mini, 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max. If you have both the software and hardware, do the following to use Face ID with a mask:
1. On your iPhone, open the Settings app.
2. Next, go into Face ID & Passcode.
3. Then enter your passcode.
4. Toggle on Use Face ID With a Mask.
5. On the next page, choose the Use Face ID With a Mask option.
6. Set up Face ID with your mask on.
Setting up Face ID with a mask on works pretty much the same as setting up regular Face ID, except that there’s a focus on authenticating the unique features around your eyes. Once that’s set, which will take about a minute or so, you’ll be able to unlock your iPhone while masked (and unmasked).
How to use your Apple Watch to unlock your iPhone
If you don’t have iOS 15.4 or an iPhone 12 or 13, you can still unlock your iPhone with a mask on using your Apple Watch. For this, you’ll need to be running iOS 14.5 or later and WatchOS 7.4 or later. To set the feature up:
1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
2. Select Face ID & Passcode.
3. Enter your passcode when asked.
4. Next, scroll down to Unlock with Apple Watch, find your Apple Watch, and toggle the feature on.
Going forward, whenever you’re wearing a face covering, all you have to do is hold your phone up like you normally would to unlock it with Face ID. You’ll feel a haptic tap on your wrist, letting you know your watch was used to unlock your phone.
The alert on your watch is more than just an acknowledgment that your phone was unlocked, though. It includes a button to lock your phone, in case it was unlocked by someone else. It’s a security feature to ensure that someone else doesn’t pick up your phone and unlock it while wearing a mask. While unlikely that it will happen, it’s a reassuring fallback method to keep your data safe.
Don’t have an Apple Watch? Check out. And if you do already have an Apple Watch, you might be interested in these .