Apple is trying to fix one of the biggest issues of Face ID with its upcoming iOS 14.5 release — that of the Face ID not working when one is wearing a mask.
This was not that big of a deal before the pandemic hit but with COVID-19 making masks mandatory everywhere, Face ID not working leads to a very frustrating experience. In iOS 14.5, Apple has added an option to unlock an iPhone with Face ID if there’s an Apple Watch paired to it by using it for authentication purposes.
Post the iOS 14.5 update, if you unlock your iPhone while wearing Apple Watch and a mask, Face ID would do a partial scan and then use the Apple Watch for authentication to unlock your device. A successful unlock will lead to your Apple Watch buzzing as well for feedback. Apart from unlocking the device, users will also be able to use their Apple Watch to lock their iPhones.
At least in iOS 14.5 beta, Apple requires users to manually enable this option. Additionally, it is not possible to use this Apple Watch unlocking method to authenticate Apple Pay payments or App Store purchases.
iOS 14.5 is shaping up to be a pretty major update with a number of new features including dual-SIM 5G support, AirPlay 2 support for Apple Fitness+, support for Xbox and PS5 controllers, and more.