Wearing a face mask while trying to unlock your iPhone with Face ID is a frustrating experience. Apple’s facial recognition technology, requires your eyes, nose and mouth to be visible in order for it to work. That creates an obvious problem for those who are wearing a facial covering while in public. The latest iPhone software update, iOS 13.5, includes a streamlined process that does a good job of eliminating some. But not all, of the frustration.
The tweak included in iOS 13.5, which was released on Wednesday, is subtle. Users with up-to-date software will now see an opportunity to enter their passcode or password when they swipe up and FaceID doesn’t work. Previously, when Face ID couldn’t identify a face, it would try again before displaying the passcode screen, causing a slight delay.
The new feature is a sign that Apple is aware that its FaceID software, which has been a key selling point for new iPhones since 2017, is significantly less useful when people are wearing masks. The software can’t identify a face if its mouth and nose are covered. Also most recent iPhones don’t have a fingerprint sensor.
You’re now left with two options. Leave Face ID alone, and get used to the new pass-code prompt, or turn it off altogether. For me, the update has made a big enough difference . I plan on leaving Face-ID turned on at all times. Like me, many others choose to keep Face-ID intact for easier unlocking at home, when they aren’t wearing a mask.