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Apple update lets Face ID users unlock iPhones while wearing mask

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Apple is set to unveil an iPhone update for the pandemic era in the coming weeks, debuting a feature that will allow users of its Face ID feature to unlock their phones while wearing a mask.

The tech giant’s next iOS software update will tweak Apple’s Face ID feature to recognize users without them having to pull down their masks.

The iOS 15.4 update with the changes to Face ID is currently in beta form and is expected to receive a wide rollout by mid-March, according to Bloomberg. The unlock feature will be available to iPhone and iPad users.

The update will provide a quality-of-life improvement for Apple users, who will have to “opt in” to make use of the feature. The feature notes that iPhone recognizes “the unique features around the eye area to authenticate” the user’s identity.

Prior to the change, users had to use a workaround available on Apple Watches to unlock their iPhones when Face ID recognition was obscured by a mask. But the feature is rolling out as many locales dial back their mask requirements as the Omicron variant surge abates.

Person on phone wearing mask
Apple’s software update is expected to roll out by mid-March.
Getty Images

“Face ID with Mask” is one of several additions set to be included in the iOS 15.4 update. The latest patch will also debut “Universal Control,” which allows users to drag and drop files between devices or control them with a single keyboard and trackpad.

The update will also include new emojis, the addition of an Apple Card “widget” for easy home screen access and a password management system for Apple’s Safari browser.

Bloomberg reported that Apple is also expected to unveil a low-cost iPhone and an upgraded version of its iPad next month.

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