How to try iPhone's new face unlock feature that works while wearing a mask

APPLE has created a new way to unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask.

The new feature is a clever way to get around now commonly-worn face masks – which typically scupper your iPhone's Face ID scanner.

It's part of the new iOS 14.5 update that's coming soon, but which is already available in beta.

The biggest change is the ability to unlock your iPhone with an Apple Watch while wearing a mask.

If you attempt to use Face ID while wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose, the presence of your Apple Watch will unlock the iPhone.

The Apple Watch needs to be on your wrist and also unlocked.

The system is opt-in through settings, so it won't be on by default.

If you don't have an Apple Watch then we've detailed an alternative unlocking method towards the end of this article.

How to get iOS 14.5 beta

The beta version of iOS 14.5 is available from February 1.

If you want to try iOS 14.5 public beta then you can sign up on the  Apple Beta page and register with your Apple ID.

Then you'll need to log in to the Beta Software Program and click on "Enrol" to sign up your iOS device.

Then you need to download and install the configuration profile.

The beta version of iOS will then be available in"Settings", under "General" and then "Software Update".

Make sure you back up your iPhone first.

The official iOS 14.5 update should be available for everyone in the next few weeks.

Don't expect your phone to work perfectly with the beta version of any software as there will still be glitches that need to be resolved before the software is available to everyone.

Unlock iPhone with a face mask before iOS 14.5

Although it doesn't have a 100% pass rate, researchers at Tencent’s Xuanwu Lab discovered that you can technically train Face ID to recognise you with a mask on.

It involves setting up the biometric system while wearing half a mask.

First you'll need to go to "Settings" and click on "Face ID & Passcode".

You can either select to "Reset Face ID" or set up your masked face as an "Alternate Appearance".

Click your choice and then wear your mask but fold it in half so it's only on one half of your face.

Your phone may give you a "Face Obstructed" message.

If this happens move the mask slowly away from the centre of your face and only just cover the tip of your nose.

You should eventually get a “Move your head slowly to complete the circle” message.

Then you'll be asked to do two scans of your face.

Your iPhone should then read "Face ID is now set up".

All you need to do now is put your mask on and test it out.

The researchers who found this method did note that it doesn't always work so you may need to be patient or to just use your numerical passcode.

Face ID should still work when you're not wearing a mask at all.

If you're still having problems you can go back into "Settings", follow the steps above but try using a mask on the other side of your face.

You can also try "Set Up Alternate Appearance" instead of resetting the whole thing.

In other news, Apple could be working on new foldable iPhones.

Read our guide to 5G here.

And find out if 5G is in your area.

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