Even since the pandemic struck and wearing masks became the norm, folks who own an iPhone with Face ID hardware – such as the iPhone 12 – have been stuck with a biometric system that is of little to no use. Every time one has to unlock their iPhone while wearing a mask, the passcode must be manually entered. However, Apple is finally rolling out a way to unlock iPhones using the Apple Watch with iOS 14.5, a feature that has been available on Macs for a while now.
An iPhone and Apple Watch must be paired and nearby for the feature to work
The new feature has arrived as part of the iOS 14.5 developer beta that has now been released (via Macrumors), and will be rolled out via the stable channel in the coming weeks. Talking about the authentication feature, an Apple Watch and iPhone need to be paired for it to work. If you’re wearing an Apple Watch that is currently unlocked, Face ID will run a partial face scan while you’re wearing a mask and will unlock the iPhone.
And when Face ID unlocks an iPhone, the Apple Watch sends haptic feedback to let you know about it. And just like unlocking an iPhone with the Apple Watch, there is also an option to lock a paired phone with the smartwatch. However, an iPhone and Apple Watch need to be close to each for the unlocking and locking issue to get sorted. Plus, the ability to unlock an iPhone while wearing a face mask via the Apple Watch must be enabled manually.
iOS 14.5 beta also adds support for Siri emergency calling
However, the new trick works only when you’re simply trying to unlock your iPhone without having to take off your mask. And that too, when the Apple Watch is on your wrist or nearby. However, for payments and other such tasks, you’ll either have to enter the passcode or take off your mask for Face ID authentication.
In addition to a new method for unlocking iPhones with Face ID hardware, the iOS 14.5 beta update also adds support for the Sony PlayStation 5 DualSense and Xbox Series X controllers. Plus, it also enables support for dual-SIM 5G, emergency contact calling via Siri, and AirPlay 2 casting support for Apple Fitness+ content.