With iOS 15.4, you can unlock your iPhone with Face ID while wearing a mask

Unlocking iPhone using Face ID is easy and convenient until the pandemic hits when we have to wear our masks. There is currently a workaround using Apple Watch to unlock the iPhone, but not every iPhone user has an Apple Watch.

With the upcoming iOS 15.4, Face ID with a Mask will be available. Yes, you can finally unlock your iPhone with Face ID while wearing a mask! Currently in beta, iOS 15.4 will prompt you to set up this feature upon starting up after you update a supported iPhone.

With iOS 15.4, you can unlock your iPhone with Face ID while wearing a mask. (Video: Trevor Tan)

You can enable this new feature straightaway with a new Face ID scan. It is like the normal new Face ID scan as before. But it includes a third scan that requires you to take off glasses, for those who are wearing them. Thereafter, you can unlock your iPhone with Face ID while wearing a mask with no issues.

You can set up Face ID with a Mask in iOS 15.4 under Face ID & Passcode in Settings. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

However, you need to have eye contact with the iPhone when wearing a mask in order to unlock it. This is because of the need to “recognise the unique features around the eye”. After all, your mask has covered all your facial features. In addition, Face ID with a Mask will not work when you are wearing sunglasses.

For those wearing glasses like myself, it is highly recommended to “Add Glasses” in the Face ID & Passcode settings. You will need to put on your glasses and do Face ID scan set up again. If you have multiple glasses, you can always add more accordingly.

The best part about Face ID with a Mask is you can use it for Apple Pay purchases. No more having to key in your passcode in front of the cashier or in full view of the person behind you in the queue. It will also work with other third-party apps that make use of Face ID.

Currently, Face ID with a Mask works only on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 series. But as this is still in beta, we do not know if Apple will expand this feature to the rest of iPhones that support Face ID.

Also, with anything in beta, you might want to test this feature on an iPhone that is not your main everyday smartphone (in case something goes wrong). You can sign up for the iOS 15 public beta here to try out the Face ID with a Mask.