iPhone news: Apple's iOS update will help FaceID users unlock phones while wearing masks

iPhone users are getting a FaceID update thanks to Apple's iOS 13.5

iPhone 11
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's FaceID has been a hugely popular feature since it was introduced on the iPhone several generations ago. The depth-perception 3D technology makes face unlock more secure by identifying the positioning of features like the nose and mouth with pinpoint accuracy, thanks to an array of sensors contained on the iPhone's notch. 

However, since the global health crisis has made wearing masks in public the norm, FaceID users are becoming frustrated. Obscuring your mouth and nose obviously  means FaceID cannot function with the same accuracy. However, Apple is taking steps to address this, as we have no idea how long precautionary mask-wearing will go on for. 

Apple's latest iOS update, titled iOS 13.5, will include an update to the manufacturer's FaceID software. Although the software still won't be able to open the phone if you are wearing a mask, it will detect the fact your face is obscured and realise FaceID recognition is likely to fail. It will then bring up the passcode entry screen.

Although it doesn't sound super exciting, the end result is your phone prompting you to use the passcode unlock much faster, rather than waiting while it attempts to unlock using FaceID. It will save you a precious few seconds with every pickup.

iPhone users will find it easier to get into their phones while masked up.

(Image credit: Swaddle Designs)

The feature has been released to beta testers along with the rest of iOS13.5. Pending feedback, the feature should be rolling out to other users in the coming weeks.

While it's a speedy reaction on the part of Apple, we can't help but wish we had the old TouchID back, especially in times such as these. With most Android phones still using fingerprints as their primary unlocking mechanism, it seems iOS users are on the back foot for once. 

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Matt Evans

Matt Evans now works for T3.com sister brand TechRadar, covering all things relating to fitness and wellness. He came to T3.com as staff writer before moving on, and was previously on Men's Health, and slightly counterintuitively, a website devoted to the consumption of Scotch whiskey. In his free time, he could often be found with his nose in a book until he discovered the Kindle.