iOS 15.4 beta lets you use Face ID while wearing a mask

iOS 15.4 beta lets you use Face ID while wearing a mask

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Why Apple Watch’s iPhone unlock will change your freakin’ life
Being able to easily unlock your iPhone while wearing a face mask is coming in iOS 15.4.
Photo: Ivan Samkov/Pexels CC

Face ID in iOS 15.4 will let users unlock their iPhones while wearing a mask. No Apple Watch necessary. The system will scan just the area around eyes. It comes with a warning that the change makes Face ID less secure, though.

Apple seeded the first iOS 15.4 beta to developers Thursday.

iOS 15.4: Easy iPhone unlocking with a mask on, at last

Shortly after beta went out, Brandon Butch noticed the option to use Face ID with a mask on and posted about it on Twitter.

A setup page in iOS 15.4 says, “To use Face ID while wearing a mask, iPhone can recognize the unique features around the eye area to authenticate.”

Users are allowed to opt out. As Apple says, “Face ID is most accurate when it’s set up for full-face recognition only.”

A similar feature has been available for a while but required an Apple Watch. That accessory is not necessary to unlock an iPhone while wearing a face mask with iOS 15.4 beta 1.

New emoji too

And the changes are not all about biometric security. There are also at least 30 new emoji in iOS 15.4, according to a tweet from Brandon Butch. These emoji were approved in fall 2021 but are just making their way to iPhone.

Many other Apple OS betas, too

Mac, iPad, Apple Watch and Apple TV users have something to look forward to as well. Developers can also begin testing macOS Monterey beta 1, iPadOS 15.4 beta 1, watchOS 8.5 beta 1 and tvOS 15.4 beta 1 starting on Thursday.

All of these pre-release versions come just a day after the previous iterations ended testing and were released to the public.

Currently, all the betas are only for developers. But if Apple follows its previous habits, public beta versions will come along soon. In the meantime, getting access to these pre-release editions requires joining the Apple Developer Program, which costs $99 a year.