Apple is making it easier to unlock your iPhone without Face ID, since everyone's wearing masks now

Key Points
  • iOS 13.5 beta 3, released to developers on Wednesday, includes a new feature that makes it easier to unlock while wearing a mask.
  • You just need to swipe up to bring up the passcode screen, so there isn't as much of a delay between the phone trying to recognize your face and asking you to enter in a passcode.
  • The feature is still in beta, however, so probably won't be available to everyone for a few weeks.

In this article

Apple explores work around for Face ID to unlock iPhones while wearing a mask

Apple released beta iPhone software on Wednesday that makes it easier to unlock your iPhone without using Face ID and while wearing a mask. 

Right now, if you're wearing a mask, you need to lift your mask to unlock an iPhone with Face ID. Otherwise, there's a small but annoying delay between when the phone realizes it can't see your face and when it presents the screen to enter in a passcode. You can just turn off Face ID, but then you don't get the convenience when you're at home and not wearing a mask.

In the new iOS 13.5 beta 3 code, which was released to developers for testing on Wednesday, Apple simplifies the unlock process for folks wearing masks by bringing the passcode field to the main screen. All you need to do is swipe up if you're wearing a mask, and you'll skip the Face ID display and enter in a code instead.

Here's a look:


That means you'll be able to get to unlock your phone easier while doing things like mobile payments at a checkout counter instead of fumbling with your mask or waiting for a passcode screen to pop up. Since this is still a beta, it may be a few more weeks until a final version launches with the feature enabled. 

The new beta also includes the first release of new software from Apple that will make it easier to build apps to notify people if they've been near somebody with Covid-19.

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