Sorta Face to Unlock

When Apple introduced Face ID in 2017, they never could've predicted the world we live in today. Masks are mandatory in many places due to COVID. Many times when we are out and about, this super-fast way of unlocking an iPhone is rendered useless. Apple tried to fix this once. However, there are still tons of iPhone users who do not own an Apple Watch. Now, the upcoming iOS version 15.4 looks to do even more about this. Oliver Haslam at iMore gives more details.

The change was first spotted by YouTuber Brandon Butch and comes with a text that suggests Apple is now focusing more on the area around the eyes seeing as it can no longer see mouths.


Face ID emits an IR dot pattern onto one's face in order to function. My purely-speculative guess on the update is this: Apple has tuned the dot map to build a more-detailed map around the eye area of a face. If they could double the dots thrown into a more concentrated section (moving some dots away from the lower portion of a face), perhaps there's enough detail to still get a secure unlocking method to function.

Of course, in the most Apple way possible, this tweak will be limited to iPhone 12 models and later. The watchful eyes of Juli Clover at MacRumors caught this one.

Unfortunately, Face ID with a Mask is limited to some of Apple's newest iPhones, even though Face ID has been available since 2017 with the launch of the iPhone X. As noted on our forums, Face ID with a Mask is only an option on the iPhone 12 and later, so you'll need an iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max or an iPhone 13, 13 mini, 13 Pro, or 13 Pro Max.


The 15.4 beta literally came out only a few days ago. As we've seen from the past, Apple has and very well could make changes to this before it ships out to a portion of their 1.8 Billion active users. Based on Apple's general times to ship updates, I'd guess 15.4 doesn't come until at least mid-March. Even if Apple's change is as secure as Face ID without a mask, they need to stop artificially limiting it. The least they should do is support every iPhone with Face ID, given how long people hold onto their devices.