How to Unlock Your iPhone With Face ID While Wearing a Mask

iPhone can be unlocked with Face ID even if you are wearing a mask. Custom options are in iOS 15.4. Unless you unlock via Apple Watch.

When you're in a place where you still have to wear a mask and you have to use Face ID, taking the time to unlock your iPhone might not be the best solution. You can type in a PIN instead. Therefore, thanks to iOS 15.4, it is possible to use Face ID while still wearing your mask.

As long as you have an iPhone 12 or later with iOS 15.4 or later, you can go into settings and enable a new feature that uses another level of detection to make sure it's really you. This allows you to use Face ID while still wearing a mask.

Having said that, if you have an older iPhone or don't want to update to iOS 15.4, there is another method to unlock your iPhone while you're wearing a mask, via your Apple Watch. The two methods are described below.

How to use Face ID with a mask

This new feature is exclusive to iOS 15.4 and only available on iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, and iPhone 13, 13 mini, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max. Once the update is installed, you will see an option to use Face ID with a mask during the welcome screen, but you can also follow the instructions below to enable it:
  • On your iPhone, go to Settings.
  • Go to Face ID and Code and enter your code.
  • Enable the Face ID with mask option.
  • On the next page, select the Use Face ID with a mask option.
  • Finally, remove your mask if you have one and set up Face ID.
The system will inform you that your face must match the one already registered, so you can't register on someone else's smartphone, for example. Even if your entire face is scanned, the Use Face ID with mask feature improves detection of unique features around the eyes. Once the configuration is complete, you can unlock your iPhone with your mask (and without, of course).

How to use Apple Watch to unlock iPhone

If you don't have iOS 15.4 or iPhone 12 or 13, you can still unlock your iPhone with a mask using your Apple Watch. For this to work, you must have iOS 14.5 or later and WatchOS 7.4 or later. To configure a pool:
  • Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  • Select Face ID and Code and enter your code.
  • Scroll down to Unlock with Apple Watch, find your Apple Watch, and enable the option.
  • Now when you put on the mask, you just have to hold the phone as you normally would to unlock it with Face ID. You will feel your watch vibrate, letting you know that it has unlocked your iPhone.
Alerts on a watch are more than just alerts. On this screen there is also a button to lock the phone, if it has been unlocked by someone else. This is a security feature to ensure that third parties don't pick up your phone and unlock it wearing a mask, for example. Highly unlikely, of course, but the existence of this button is reassuring.
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