Apple may be working on a new feature that will allow iPhone owners to use Face ID to unlock the phone even while wearing a mask. According to MacRumors, the iOS 15.4 beta added a new feature designed to allow Face ID to be used with a mask and without an Apple Watch for authentication.
However, it seems that the Face ID with Mask feature requires an iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 model, as the feature is not available for users who own the iPhone 11 at this time.
Apple previously made Face ID “compatible” with wearing a mask, but the limitation was that an Apple Watch had to be authenticated and connected for partial face matching to be possible.
One of the newest features recently discovered on the latest iOS 15.4 beta is the ability to use partial Face ID which would be useful when wearing a mask, except it no longer requires you to connect an Apple Watch. Even with a mask on, Face ID can be used for Apple Pay, App Store downloads, and third-party apps. You can set up Face ID with or without a mask and if you opt for the masked setup, you don’t have to wear one during setup.
According to Apple, Masked Face ID uses less biometric data than Full Face ID, so the user’s entire face may not be recognized. In this case, the user may be prompted to enter their password.
Face ID, like the mask feature, uses a newly designed algorithm that focuses more on the eye area to validate unlocking, as the nose and mouth, which make up a large percentage of facial data, are covered. With each saved look, Face ID with mask function will support up to four pairs of glasses. Currently, Face ID uses a state-of-the-art TrueDepth camera system with sophisticated technology to correctly trace your face shape to provide easy and secure authentication.
Face ID is compatible with a wide range of headgear, scarves, glasses, contact lenses and glasses. It can also be used indoors, outdoors and even in complete darkness.