As it is well known that in order to flatten the curve, we need to wear a mask and stay apart one meter from each other. Now emphasising on the mask wearing section, for iPhone users that depends on Face ID, it is a hassle to do so. This is because Face ID doesn’t recognise a face without nose and mouth.
Hence, Apple did something with it for their iOS 14 version 14.5 as well as watchOS 7.4. Looking at the insight that this feature also involves watches, yes, it does include Apple Watch.
For the users of the latest models of iPhone, it is better for you to have an Apple Watch too now because apparently, you might need to unlock your phone with a mask soon. Apple has released the iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 beta updates for developers, and included is a feature that’s designed to make it easier to unlock an iPhone while wearing a mask by leveraging the Apple Watch.
Basically, an opt-in setting lets you turn on a feature that allows an iPhone to be unlocked with both Face ID and an authenticated Apple Watch combined. You can find it in the Settings, to the Face ID & Passcode section, put your passcode and toggle on “Unlock with Apple Watch.”
Both iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4 are required to enable this feature, you can unlock your phone with an unlocked and authenticated Apple Watch while wearing a mask. For the first time, you’ll need to enter a passcode, but after that, Apple Watch unlocking is smooth, seamless, and quick.
You will feel a slight vibration on your wrist when you wear a mask and use the Face ID to let you know that it is unlocked also with a notification that pops up on the watch.
Face ID will work like normal on the iPhone, so you’ll only feel a difference through the Apple Watch, though sometimes there’s a slight delay that says “unlocking iPhone with Apple Watch.” It depends on the distance between your phone and your watch.
However, you cannot make an Apple Pay or App Store purchase with the Apple Watch, nor can you use it for authenticating in apps that use Face ID which means you still need to remove the mask.
For security purposes, the feature is entirely opt-in and is not enabled by default. You need an unlocked Apple Watch for this to work, so there’s no way to use it with an Apple Watch that has not been unlocked via the iPhone or by your Apple Watch passcode.
Actually, this is a brilliant update too as it helps to unlock the iPhone effortlessly. It would be a privilege especially for those who own both iPhone and Apple Watch at the same time. Maybe sooner or later, Apple will bring back the Touch ID on their new phones. Who knows, right?