COVID-19 has tectonically uprooted our lives: home-hubs, lockdowns, and the all-pervasive face mask. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that it’s nigh on impossible to unlock your phone with 50% of your face covered; now, thankfully, Apple has a fix.
Apple now has a feature that enables you to open your phone screen, wearing a mask, using Face ID – but you must be wearing an Apple Watch. It also currently requires the developer betas of iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4.
Can you hear that sound? It’s the collective sigh of relief from iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max users, as they fawn over the amount of time they’ll now save not having to bash in their passcode every few minutes.
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It’s great news for smartwatch users, including those who enjoy the Apple Watch Series 5, and Apple Watch Series 6 – and only in the betas mentioned – who can use the devices to send an authentication request to the iPhone, using Face ID to identify the masked user. The Apple Watch and iPhone must be in close proximity and there must be no passcode on the Apple Watch.
Once done, you can swipe up on your phone and you will see an ‘Unlocking with Apple Watch’ alert before it opens up. The feature doesn’t extend to purchases or passwords and can be toggled on in the settings part of your handset.
And it doesn't end there: iOS 14.5 is also set to offer support for the Xbox Series X and PS5 DualSense controllers, which will add to a growing list of useful features, some of which are still being uncovered in the PS5's kit, as T3 reported recently. Reportedly, it'll also enable support AirPlay 2 support for Apple Fitness+.
All of this comes against the backdrop of beefed up security measures for iMessage, where Apple has recently introduced a feature to block untrusted data in the messaging app. The newly released iOS 14.4 takes aim at three active security flaws, firming up your system, and introducing a bunch of cool features to boot.
There's no doubt that this feature will be a game-changer for the majority of users who own an Apple Watch; not only does it save time, but you could argue that it's the beginning of pandemic-influenced modifications to popular hardware, as companies increasingly look to cope with face masks being around for a long time to come.