Apple has reportedly added a new feature to the new iOS 13.5 beta that means iPhones with Face ID can tell if you’re wearing a face mask, and will take you straight to the passcode entry screen rather than unsuccessfully trying to scan your face (via
Face ID’s 3D wizardry means it’s incredibly fast at securely unlocking your iPhone when it can see it’s you from several angles. The fact that wearing a face mask means your iPhone won’t unlock is a positive thing, because Apple designed it to not register partial matches. It’s your whole mug or nothing.
But since the coronavirus pandemic means mean are responsibly wearing face masks en masse, it’s meant that millions of people are having to tap in their passcode instead of relying on Face ID in public. Apple has impressively responded to this with the new feature in the beta of iOS 13.5 that will send you straight to the passcode screen when you swipe to unlock.
Although this feature has come about because of a pandemic, it makes sense that Apple would keep it in iOS permanently. A common frustration when using Face ID is it usually doesn’t recognise you when wearing sunglasses. If the software could recognise cases like this and send users straight to the passcode screen, it’d be very welcome.