Wearing a mask is a daily habit, to continue to protect yourself from infection, when indoors or in crowded places, outdoors.

An obligation that has made life very difficult for mobile users, especially us with an iPhone , due to the impossibility of accessing the phone using the Face ID. Apple’s biometric recognition, the most accurate, fast and secure to date available on a mobile phone, had become useless with the face covered by a personal protective device, be it surgical, FP2 and so on.

Then something changed. A few months ago, Apple released the beta version of iOS 15.4, which integrates a deeper and more precise face recognition of users, to cross the limit of the mask and still allows secure access to the phone. A few days ago, at the launch of the iPhone SE , the operating system update became available to everyone. Of course, it arrived late, at the dawn of the third year of the pandemic, but better than nothing.

We explain how to re-scan the face to allow iOS to memorize parts of the user’s eye contours, the only section that remains uncovered even when you have a mask.

How to do

Once iOS 15.4 is installed, the first time you turn on the iPhone it will ask immediately if you want to scan your face to unlock the phone with the mask. But you can also proceed later, by going to Settings > Face ID and lock code and then> Use Face ID with the mask. It will then be sufficient to set the flag to the option and proceed with the new setup.

Once activated, Face ID will “use the unique features around the eye area for authentication” instead of performing full facial recognition. There is also an option to add glasses. As shown in the screen above, during storage it is not necessary to wear the mask because the system will store the new biometric level by itself.

Unlocking with mask works only on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 (variants included) while for the previous ones you can use the Apple Watch for authentication with a covered face.

An update (iOS 13.5) arrived in April 2020 that allowed users to swipe up on the iPhone to bypass the requirement for Face ID and use the unlock code. In April 2021, with iOS 14.5, Apple introduced the ability to unlock the iPhone with an Apple Watch, simply by tapping on the dial for access.

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