When Apple invented Face ID for the iPhone X back in 2017, it probably wasn't banking on us all wearing face coverings a few years later. Yep, as many a frustrated iPhone user will attest, Face ID has turned out to be Apple's least pandemic-proof feature. But that's all about to change. Sort of.
The new iOS 14.5 update, available today, allows users to unlock newer iPhones without using Face ID (or having to cumbersomely type the passcode). Forking out on one of the best camera phones only to find it won't unlock easily isn't ideal, so any kind of fix is great news. The catch? You'll need to be wearing an Apple Watch.
With the new update, as long as your iPhone is near your Apple Watch, it will automatically unlock. The Watch has been able to automatically unlock your Mac for a while, but this is the first time the functionality has extended to the iPhone. The Watch will give you some haptic feedback to inform you that the phone has been unlocked.
Attention Face ID users: Your Apple Watch Series 3 or later can unlock your iPhone when you’re wearing a face mask in iOS 14.5. Learn more: https://t.co/3B1VkSDoNt pic.twitter.com/3ejpdgBgpNApril 26, 2021
While this will only be music to the ears of those lucky enough to own both an Apple Watch and an iPhone, at least it's something (and hey, the Apple Watch SE (opens in new tab) is brilliant value – just saying). While we all hoped the "new normal" would be a flash in the pan, it's clear that masks – and with them, Face ID issues – are going to be around a while longer. Here's where to buy a face mask if you aren't covered already.
Apple has already proven it can incorporate Touch ID into an all-screen device with last year's iPad Air 4, and many are crying out to see the feature return to the iPhone. The only current iPhone with Touch ID is the iPhone SE, based on an older, home button-based design (users of the SE or iPhone 8 and below are probably feeling pretty smug right now). But if recent leaks are to be believed, Touch ID could make a triumphant comeback with the iPhone 13.
Time will tell whether you'll finally be able to unlock your brand new iPhone with your finger (again) later this year. In the meantime, for the fastest way to get into your device while masked up, it'll take two (devices) to tango. Check out today's best iPhone and Apple Watch deals below.
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