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How to use Face ID with a Mask in iOS

14th March 2022

Jacob Woolcock


Finally, you can now use Face ID even when wearing a Face Covering – and it doesn’t require an Apple Watch anymore either! Here’s how it works.

As of iOS 15.4 you can now unlock your iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 using Face ID with a mask. It’s slightly less secure, but incredibly convenient. In this short tutorial I’ll talk you through setting it up, the tradeoffs with security and explain how it works with different pairs of glasses too.

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In iOS 15.4 you can now unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask – and you don’t need an Apple Watch connected!

Here’s how to get it set up.

So look, up until now it’s been a real pain to unlock your iPhone while wearing a face mask.

You may have had the Apple Watch connection set up to unlock it for you, but even that can be a little bit fiddly sometimes if your phone isn’t near your watch.

So what we’re going to do is we’re going to go into the Settings app itself and then we’re going to go on to FaceID and Passcode.

Now from here, once you’ve put in your pin number, you’ll see a new option (if you’re running iOS 15.4 or later) called FaceID with Mask.

Tap on here to start the setup process.

Now before we do this it’s important to note that we are going to be sacrificing a little bit of the accuracy and security of FaceID.

Obviously it’s not going to have the lower half of your face to scan like you would do normally – instead it’s going to focus on the eyes and the area around your eyes.

I’m personally happy to make this trade off because I still think it’s going to be pretty secure and I want that convenience of being in the supermarket and being able to open my phone really easily.

Okay, so I’m going to tap on the option that says use FaceID With A Mask, but to set it up I actually (counter intuitively) need to take off my mask – just like this.

And now I’m going to set up FaceID as normal.

So we’ll proceed to the next stage and then we’ll slowly rotate our head around in a circle.

For the second scan we’re gonna remove our glasses (if we’re wearing any).

This is so we can get a more accurate scan of the area around your eyes.

I’ll take my glasses off and rotate my head one more time.

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Okay that’s FaceID now set up to use with a mask.

But if you wear glasses like me (and if you’ve got perhaps a couple of different pairs of glasses) you’re going to want to add them individually now as well.

So put on the pair of glasses and then at the bottom Add New Pair of Glasses.

Repeat that scan one more time and that will calibrate whatever frames you’re wearing to work with FaceID.

Obviously if you don’t wear glasses you haven’t got to worry about this step at all.

Right, time to put the mask back on and now I’m just going to lock my phone as normal.

From here on the Home Screen as I swipe up FaceID will unlock instantly – just as quickly as it would do normally even though I’m wearing a face mask.

I’ll try that again to make sure it still works and yes, straight away, my iPhone is unlocked.

And if that wasn’t enough there is one major major benefit to this new way of doing FaceID of a mask as compared to when you used to do it on the Apple Watch and that is it works inside of apps as well.

Whether that’s In-App Purchasing, or using Apple Pay, or opening up a secure app like a banking app – your FaceID will now work even when you’re wearing a mask.

Which makes life just that little bit easier when using your phone.

If you want some more iPhone #QuickTips jump on my Channel down below – there are hundreds more there.

I’ll see you next time!

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