Some iOS 13.5 developer version users spotted a new fix for 'unlocking with mask on' issue on iPhones with Face ID
It essentially skips the face detection and 'Swipe up to unlock' part as soon as it detects the user with a mask on
It is expected to be released with the upcoming iOS update
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Apple is reportedly testing a new feature that will make it easier to unlock the iPhone when wearing a mask. The feature is found in the latest developer version of iOS 13.5, and there's no confirmation whether the upcoming iOS 13 update will have it.
The issue is that all the iPhones with Face ID fail to detect faces when the mask is on. So you eventually need to input the pin to unlock the iPhone, making it a rather lengthy process. The issue was highlighted back when rising pollution levels made many people wear a mask. But it seems like the COVID-19 impact pushed Apple to find a fix since an increasing number of users throughout the world continue facing this issue.
Wearing a mask leaves Face ID useless, so Apple's new fix essentially skips the face detection and "Swipe up to unlock" part as soon as it detects the user wearing a mask. Videos shared on Twitter by Robert Petersen, and Guilherme Rambo shows that Apple devices with Face ID prompt the user to enter the passcode without trying to identify the face in such a case.
As pointed out by @Sonikku_a2, if you’re wearing a mask, iOS 13.5 goes straight to the passcode screen if you try to unlock with Face ID (keypad not shown because iOS hides it in screen recordings) pic.twitter.com/bQCzu5u20p— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) April 29, 2020
We do not know what took Apple so long to realise the need for this addition, but it will be a welcome change when and if it arrives with the OTA update. A lot of users found alternative methods to speed-up the unlock process, but a native one will definitely feel more secure and reliable.
As we mentioned, the feature is still not confirmed to land with the next update, but what we know is that a new contact tracing API built by Apple in collaboration with Google will be a part of the list. The API will let national health authorities build apps for coronavirus contact tracing, which will eventually let users check if they've been in contact with someone infected with the coronavirus.
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