Welcome to my new semi-regular series with tips on how to use iPhone features you don’t have…yet. This week we’re talking about iOS 15.4 and the new flagship feature Use Face ID with a mask.
What is that?
In iOS 15.4, you can choose to have Face ID work when you’re wearing a mask. Previously, unlocking your iPhone without a password while wearing a mask was only possible when you were also wearing a paired and password-protected Apple Watch.
How can I configure it?
When you upgrade to iOS 15.4 (currently in beta), you’ll be prompted on restart to set up the new feature. You will rescan Face ID so that your iPhone can perform a more detailed analysis of the features around your eyes.
If you choose not to use the feature after your first reboot, don’t worry. It’s easy to enable it in the settings. In the Face ID and password section, select the Use Face ID with a mask slide. There it will guide you through a new scan.
If you wear glasses, you have the option of doing additional analysis with your glasses on so that the function is more reliable. Just choose Add glasses after activating Use Face ID with a mask.
Is it reliable? Is it safe?
Is using Face ID with a mask safe? Absoutely. I’ve tried it with and without glasses and my iPhone unlocks immediately, just like it does when I’m not wearing a mask. It’s faster, in fact, than unlocking my iPhone with my Apple Watch while wearing a mask.
Is it safe? Yes, but it’s not as accurate as previous Face ID unlock options. Apple says in the feature description that Face ID is “most accurate” when configured for full facial recognition. This most likely means that your iPhone may not unlock every time you use the feature. It’s possible, however, that an inaccurate reading could allow someone else to unlock your phone. Knowing Apple, however, I imagine the feature errs on the security side and simply refuses to unlock.
When can I get it?
Using Face ID with a mask will be available in iOS 15.4. The first beta was just released last week, so it will take about a month before it’s ready for the general public. However, if you want to check it out sooner, sign up for the Apple Beta program. You can read more about how to sign up (and the first beta itself) here.