Apple's newest feature now lets you unlock your iPhone with a mask on and it will change your life

Apple's latest software update now gives you the option to unlock your phone using your Apple Watch

A woman wearing a protective mask looks at her cell phone in Bryant Park on March 26, 2021 in New York City.
(Image credit: John Lamparski/Getty Images)

One of the perks of owning an iPhone is the ability to unlock your phone using the Face ID feature. Apple's genius unlocking feature is quick, simple, and minimizes the risk of someone breaking into your phone. That is if you're not in the middle of a global pandemic that requires you to wear a face mask whenever you leave the house.  

Unfortunately, wearing any type of mask (from reusable face masks to full-face ones) has prevented the Face ID from working because half of our faces are covered whenever we're out and about. While Apple is trying to come up with software that detects COVID-19, many people have complained about how inconvenient unlocking their phone is now. After receiving so many complaints, the people at Apple have come to the rescue with a software update that helps remedy this, while also maintaining some password security. 

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For those who own an Apple Watch (or are thinking of investing in one), unlocking your phone with a mask on is about to get a lot easier. Thanks to the newest versions of iOS and watchOS, Apple Watch owners can finally unlock their phones without having to enter their phone's passcode or take their mask off in public.  

Mashable reported that Apple owners with iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4 now have a new option under Settings – Face ID & Passcode, labeled "Unlock with Apple Watch." If you turn this feature on, then your iPhone will use your Apple Watch to unlock your phone when Face ID detects you're wearing a mask.

How does the new feature work?

For it to be successful, there are a couple of things required: you need to be wearing your Apple Watch, and it must be unlocked and protected by a passcode. Your wifi and Bluetooth also need to be turned on in order for your iPhone and Apple Watch to communicate with one another. The mask you're wearing must only cover your mouth and nose too. Then, just raise or tap your iPhone to wake it up and glance at it, and voila, your iPhone should unlock.

MacRumors also noted that this new update only works for unlocking your phone. That means that other features like Apple Pay and App Store purchases can not be authenticated using this feature. That shouldn't be too much trouble for Apple Watch owners, though, because you can still use features like Apple Pay using your Apple Watch rather than your iPhone.

Rylee Johnston

Rylee is a U.S. news writer who previously worked for woman&home and My Imperfect Life covering lifestyle, celebrity, and fashion news. Before joining woman&home and My Imperfect Life, Rylee studied journalism at Hofstra University where she explored her interests in world politics and magazine writing. From there, she dabbled in freelance writing covering fashion and beauty e-commerce for outlets such as the TODAY show, American Spa Magazine, First for Women, and Woman’s World.