| Cult of Mac

Apple removes face mask requirements for corporate and retail employees

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Apple's CEO and Spanish singer Rosalía take a selfie with Madrid Apple employees.
Apple employees have a lot to celebrate.
Photo: Tim Cook

Apple is dropping the requirement for most of its corporate employees to wear masks, but there are still limitations. And the company has begun allowing some of its retail employees to take off their face mask at Apple Stores.

The policy change takes place as the surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant is essentially over.

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.

Face masks go back on at Apple Stores across U.S.

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iOS 13.5 makes signing into your iPhone wearing a mask.faster.
You’ll once again be required to wear a mack in Apple Stores, no matter who you are.
Photo: cottonbro/Pexels

A growing number of Covid 19 cases has reportedly forced Apple to reinstate the face mask mandate at all its U.S. retail locations.

The Mac-maker had begun relaxing the mask requirement in the fall when cases were dropping. But Apple has now reversed course because of a surge.

Some Apple retail stores drop face mask mandates

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Why Apple Watch’s iPhone unlock will change your freakin’ life
Wave goodbye to masks at some Apple Stores.
Photo: Ivan Samkov/Pexels CC

Starting Friday, many people will be able to visit a U.S. Apple Store without wearing a mask. It’s not a universal change — an Apple company memo that leaked out indicates that removing the mask requirement depends on “vaccinations, testing, and case counts” in the area of each retail store.

Reportedly, about a third of stores will see the change. But that’s only the start.

Why Apple Watch’s iPhone unlock changes your freakin’ face-mask life

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Why Apple Watch’s iPhone unlock will change your freakin’ life
Being able to to unlock your iPhone while wearing a face mask is the best reason yet to get an Apple Watch.
Photo: Ivan Samkov/Pexels CC

iOS 14.5 is the best update of the pandemic era because it works with your Apple Watch to remove the hassle of unlocking your iPhone while wearing a face mask. You don’t have to type in your passcode every single damn time. The phone just unlocks. Like it’s supposed to.

But the trick does require an Apple Watch. If you’ve been on the bubble about getting one, this feature should go a long way toward convincing you. It serves as yet another elegant example of how Apple’s ecosystem offers users simple solutions to modern life’s annoyances.

4 ways to stay safe and healthy this holiday season

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Face masks and other gear for a socially distant winter: These products will keep you safe and healthy this holiday season and beyond.
These products will keep you safe and healthy this holiday season and beyond.
Photo: Volodymyr Hryshchenko/Unsplash CC

It’s going to be a long winter. If you’re planning to spend some time outside of your house, for essential errands or to get some fresh air, it’s important that you do everything you can to protect yourself and those in your household and community. Not only will these on-sale products keep you safe, but they’ll also give you peace of mind this holiday season and beyond.

Design-obsessed Apple crafts its own face mask [Updated]

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Apple-shield
This was Apple’s original face shield. It has a new model now.
Photo: Apple

Apple designed its own face mask because of course it did. A company long known for setting itself apart from the competition with superior design couldn’t use over-the-counter masks to protect employees and customers from COVID-19.

Instead, the team that ordinarily designs Macs and iPhones dreamed up their own face covering for Apple employees, including the people that work in Apple retail stores.

iOS 13.5 beta speeds up iPhone sign-ins while wearing a mask

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iOS 13.5 makes signing into your iPhone wearing a mask.faster.
All kinds of people are wearing masks these days, and it’ll soon be easier to access your iPhone while wearing one.
Photo: cottonbro/Pexels

Unlocking your iPhone while wearing a protective mask might get a little quicker in iOS 13.5. Apple released a new beta of this upcoming version Wednesday, and it includes a neat trick that skips Face ID to immediately ask for a passcode if it detects the user is wearing a mask.