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Apple Trials Another Way To Unlock Your iPhone With A Mask On
By Mikelle Leow, 03 Feb 2021
Image via Shutterstock
Apple might be recognized for its foresight in product design, but no one could have predicted a pandemic and the way it would overturn daily routines. So when the COVID-19 crisis swept the world and everyone had to wear a mask, users brimmed with frustration as they attempted to unlock their phones through facial recognition.
The Cupertino tech giant promptly fixed this infuriating issue with iOS 13.5 in May last year, forcing a secondary passcode screen when a face mask is detected. However, this is admittedly still less convenient than the usual Face ID system, as users will have to wait a little longer to unlock their devices.
Now, it is experimenting with another way to pass Face ID authentication. The new method is currently available in some iPhones as part of a beta test, but to trigger it, users will need an additional Apple product: the Apple Watch.
With the developer betas of the iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4 updates, users can immediately unlock their iPhones as long as their Apple Watches are nearby, unlocked, and on their wrists.
As the iPhone unlocks, the Apple Watch will vibrate in the form of haptic feedback that authentication has occurred.
Users will first have to opt-in for the feature under ‘Face ID & Passcode’ in their iPhone settings. The Apple Watch wrist detection setting must also be enabled.
For security reasons, the new iPhone and Apple Watch Face ID integration will only work for unlocking, and not when an iPhone owner wants to make payments via Apple Pay, iTunes or the App Store, CNN Business points out.
While this will provide a new and convenient way for users to access their iPhones quickly, the need to use an Apple Watch to trigger the feature might also contribute to the argument that the company has been building a monopoly.
The option is currently an experiment, but if Apple eventually decides to bring it to fruition, it could also generate an uptick in demand for the Apple Watch.
See how seamless the new unlocking system works in the demo by tech blogger Luca Ansevini:
[via CNN Business and 9to5Mac, cover image via Shutterstock]
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