After remaining quiet for several days, Apple has officially confirmed that the iPhone 13 “unlock with Apple Watch” feature that has been causing a recent run of user issues will be fixed with a software patch.
The patch is needed to fix a bug that has been affecting the handy feature on some iPhone 13s, which lets users use their Apple Watch to unlock their device while wearing a face mask or sunglasses, bypassing the need for Face ID or a passcode.
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In a support post, Apple said on Sunday (opens in new tab), users who try to unlock their phone might receive a message that says “Unable to Communicate with Apple Watch” or might not be able to set up the feature at all.
According to MacRumors (opens in new tab), Apple has promised to rectify the unlock bug through an "upcoming software update." In the interim, users can head to Settings and rely on passcodes until the fix has been rolled out, Apple said, although it didn't offer a timeline for when users could expect a patch to remove the problem.
Time for a fix
Frustratingly, it doesn’t appear as though a fix is imminent. With the flaw typically notifying users that the iPhone is “unable to communicate” with the Apple Watch, there isn’t any existing method to fix this bug yourself. Other users have reported that the unlock feature can’t be manually configured in the first place, so there are a number of issues here and no one approach will solve the issue for every user.
The AppleWatch subreddit (opens in new tab)is rife with similar reports of issues affecting the iPhone 13 Pro and the Apple Watch SE, so it's worth checking this page if you're encountering a similar bug, alongside it being a good overall destination for iOS and watchOS troubleshooting.