How to Use Face ID on iPhone With a Mask Easy.
Face masks and iPhones with Face ID don’t go well together. While you have the ability to unlock your iPhone through your Apple Watch, it doesn’t work very well in practice and requires a huge investment if you don’t have a watchOS device.
Luckily, if you’re using a compatible iPhone with the latest system software, you’ll be able to unlock it by wearing a mask, just like you would without one. Read on to learn how to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic using Face ID on a masked iPhone.
How Face ID With a Mask On Works
By default, Face ID works by performing a full scan of your face, but on compatible iPhones running iOS 15.4 and later, the TrueDepth camera system can only authenticate you with a partial scan focusing on the eye area. This allows you to work seamlessly with Face ID with or without a mask if you set your iOS device to unlock this way.
Setting your iPhone to use Face ID with a mask also allows you to authenticate third-party apps and Apple Pay purchases. This is a step up from the “Unlock with Apple Watch” feature in iOS 14.5, which is limited to the lock screen only. However, unlike regular Face ID, the new feature doesn’t work with sunglasses; however, you should have no problem using it with regular glasses.
Supported iPhone Models With Face ID
While iOS 15.4 is available for all iPhones with Face ID (starting with iPhone X), you can only use Face ID with a face mask on iPhone 12 and later. At the time of writing, here is the full list of smartphone models that support this functionality:
iPhone 12iPhone 12 ProiPhone 12 Pro MaxiPhone 12 mini iPhone 13
iPhone 13 ProiPhone 13 Pro MaxiPhone 13 mini
Note. Face ID with mask is not available for iPad Pro regardless of model.
Update iPhone to iOS 15.4 or Later
Before you can use Face ID on an iPhone with a face mask, you need to update your iPhone to iOS 15.4 or later. If you haven’t already:
1. Open the Settings app and tap General.
2. Click Software Update.
3. Wait while your iPhone searches for the latest updates. Then click Download and Install.
Related: Can’t update your iPhone? Learn how to fix stuck iOS updates.
Set Up Face ID With a Mask
Immediately after updating your iPhone, you will be given the option to set up Face ID with the mask feature. The process is similar to a standard 3D face scan. If you missed it:
1. Open “Settings”. Then scroll down and tap Face ID & Passcode.
2. Turn on the switch next to Face ID with Mask.
3. Complete the procedure of 3D face scanning. This is practically the same as the standard Face ID setting; you do not need to wear a mask during the process.
If you wear glasses, tap the Add Glasses option and rescan your Face ID with your glasses. If you use more than one pair of glasses, you must reuse the option to add them. As mentioned above, this feature does not work with sunglasses.
Unlock Your Phone With a Mask On
When wearing a face mask, you can unlock your iPhone by lifting it, just like you would with regular Face ID. Your iPhone will also check for attention (meaning you must be actively looking at the screen) for the facial recognition algorithm to work. It will not authenticate you if you have pulled the mask closer to your eyes or are wearing sunglasses. (with or without a mask).
Disable Face ID With a Mask
As Apple notes on the Face ID & Passcode screen, “Face ID is most accurate when set to full face recognition only.” Since the feature only scans part of your face, it may lead to the authentication of another person, such as a family member with similar facial features.
So if you don’t use your face mask regularly, you can disable this feature and revert to a standard full face scan. To do this, open the Settings app, go to Face ID & Passcode, and turn off the toggle next to Use Face ID with Mask.
You Can Still Unlock via Apple Watch
If you are an iPhone user with an unsupported iOS device (like the iPhone 11), don’t forget that you can still unlock it with your Apple Watch. Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Unlock with Apple Watch to enable this feature if you have a watchOS device.
Even for supported iPhone models, it’s best to set up “Unlock with Apple Watch” along with a partial Face ID scan. When both features are active, your iPhone will check your Apple Watch if it fails to authenticate you with facial recognition, such as if you wear glasses with darker lenses. However, did you know that you can also add an Apple Watch to macOS to unlock your Mac?
How to Use Face ID on iPhone With a Mask Easy
How to Use Face ID on iPhone With a Mask Easy