Why Apple needs to fix the medical mask emoji ASAP [Opinion]

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The medical mask emoji needs an update for 2020.
The medical mask emoji has way too much in common with the disappointed face emoji.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when wearing a face mask slows the spread of this disease, Apple really must change its medical mask emoji. It seems like a small tweak, but it’s important.

Currently, the face shown is unhappy about having to wear a mask. The design needs to show the person is glad to do their part.

Toggle ‘shopping mode’ on your iPhone for touch-free, mask-friendly grocery buying

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Make safe grocery acquisition a little easier with Drafts' shopping mode.
Make safe grocery acquisition a little easier with Drafts' shopping mode.
Photo: David Clarke/Unsplash

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ve probably become hyper-aware of how much you touch everything. Your face, your iPhone, the AirPods you never clean, the filthy handle on your apartment building’s front door, etc. And when you visit the store, using your iPhone’s Reminders app for your shopping list, you’re likely forever tapping the iPhone and using Face ID to wake it up again.

Clearly that’s useless if you’re being responsible and wearing a mask in the supermarket. Today we’ll see how to quickly toggle a “shopping mode” in the Drafts app, which will keep your iPhone awake while you dash down the aisles.

Yes, you can train Face ID to unlock while wearing a mask

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train Face ID with a mask
Face ID will let you train it while wearing a folded mask.
Photo: Xuanwu Lab

Face ID is great, as long as your iPhone can see your face. A mask — like the ones we all should be wearing to slow the coronavirus pandemic — blocks the iPhone’s Face ID sensor from seeing your face. That means you either need to remove the mask (bad) to unlock your iPhone, type in your passcode every time (annoying), or disable the passcode entirely (a terrible idea).

But, according to in-depth research from China’s Tencent Xuanwu Lab, you can train Face ID to work while you’re wearing a mask. It needs some careful setup, but once it’s done, it works reliablly and quickly. You can even wear glasses.

How to wear a mask without your glasses fogging up

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Better get used to wearing a mask.
Better get used to wearing a mask.
Photo: Liam Burnett-Blue/Unsplash

I wore a tubular scarf to the grocery store the other day, and spent most of the time breathing shallowly so my glasses wouldn’t steam up. On the bike it was fine, because the wind kept everything clear. But as soon as I stopped, the mask funneled my hot, moist breath onto my specs, and I couldn’t see.

Luckily, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department knows a thing or two about keeping your spectacles clear while you wear a mask. Here’s how to do it.

How to make your own coronavirus Ragmask

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Make your own protective mask with Ragmask's amazing guide.
Make your own protective mask with Ragmask's amazing guide.
Photo: Ragmask

Do you need a coronavirus mask? The World Health Organization still says no, unless you are caring for someone with COVID-19 or carrying the virus that causes it yourself. But perhaps The WHO isn’t as impartial as we’d like to think. As health experts’ opinions on the subject evolve, a DIY homemade mask looks increasingly enticing.

Perhaps wearing a mask when you take the subway or visit a supermarket is a good idea after all. Whatever, none of this changes the fact that you cannot buy a mask anywhere. But you can make your own. Check out the Ragmask, a homemade mask deign from Loren Brichter. Yes, that Loren Brichter — the former Apple employee who went on to develop Tweetie and was dubbed the “high priest of app design” by The Wall Street Journal.

Apple donating 9 million N95 masks for coronavirus fight

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pence-trump
Vice President Pence announced Apple is pulling out all the stops to get more masks to medical workers dealing with the coronavirus.
Photo: CNN video image

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced Tuesday that Apple has donated nine million N95 respirator masks to help hospitals and medical workers deal with the growing coronavirus pandemic.