How to set up Face ID with a mask

How to set up Face ID with a mask

While a lot of smartphones make use of fingerprint sensors for biometric login, the only way to use your biometrics to log in to an iPhone is to use Face ID. It’s exactly as the name implies; your face is used to log in to your phone. Apple employs additional hardware to ensure that it’s safe and secure, but there’s one major flaw. In a world where masks are often mandatory indoors thanks to COVID-19, it can be annoying to easily and quickly unlock an iPhone. Apple introduced a feature to enable face unlock when wearing an Apple Watch, though that obviously required additional hardware. Now, two years into the pandemic, iOS 15.4 Beta 1 introduces Face ID support while wearing a mask.


Face ID with a mask

How it works is that your smartphone will pay particular heed to the area around your eyes when scanning your face for face unlock. This means that while it’s slightly less secure, you can actually unlock your phone with ease when in public faces and wearing a mask. Even better, you won’t need to shell out a few hundred dollars for a shiny new Apple Watch just to unlock your phone quickly. Obviously, you could have just entered a passcode to unlock your phone every time instead, but that’s slow, not to mention annoying.

Note that just like with regular Face ID, you’ll need to be looking at your phone in order for it to unlock. Please keep in mind that this also only works on the iPhone 12 and up.

How to install the iOS 15.4 beta

To install the iOS 15.4 beta, you’ll need to enroll your iPhone into the Apple Beta Software Program. You will then get access to all of the latest public betas, and you can unenroll from the program at any time by following Apple’s instructions on how to do so.

How to set up Face ID with a mask

Setting up Face ID with a mask on the iPhone 13 Pro was a pretty simplistic process. You’ll need to make sure you’re on the latest iOS 15.4 beta in order to proceed, so be sure to check out how to install iOS betas.

  1. Firstly, navigate to your settings, and go to the Face ID section. Scroll down to the toggle that says “use Face ID with a mask” and flip it.Use Face ID with a mask
  2. Make sure to remove any face coverings when scanning your phone, as it requires a mask to be off. Attempting to scan with a face covering on will prompt a warning. It also requires that the face that it’s scanning is the same face that has already been registered to unlock your phone before.Try to scan face into Face ID with face covering
  3. Rotate your head around the bubble that appears, until it tells you that it has registered your face. Once it has, you should notice that the “use Face ID with a mask” toggle is now enabled and that you can unlock your phone while wearing a mask.Face ID mask toggle enabled

It’s great that Apple has introduced this feature for iPhones, but it feels like it’s a bit too little, too late. Many countries are beginning to lift pandemic-related restrictions, which in some regions, include requirements for mask-wearing. Nevertheless, this is certainly a feature that I’ll be getting a lot of use out of, and I imagine plenty of other users will be too — particularly as it saves on the cost of needing to buy an Apple Watch for the same thing that can be done through software.

About author

Adam Conway
Adam Conway

I'm the senior technical editor at XDA-Developers. I have a BSc in Computer Science from University College Dublin, and I'm a lover of smartphones, cybersecurity, and Counter-Strike. You can contact me at [email protected] My Twitter is @AdamConwayIE and my Instagram is adamc.99.

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