How to Unlock Your iPhone with a Mask On

Unlock Your iPhone with a Mask On

Wondering how to unlock your iPhone with a mask on?

The most crucial details about our lives are on our iPhones. You can protect that information with ease, thanks to Face ID. That is until the COVID-19 pandemic hits. Now, unlocking your phone while you’re outdoors wearing a face mask is far from easy.

Apple has designed Face ID to adapt automatically to the changes in your appearance. It can recognize your face even if you have makeup or growing facial hair. But it won’t work if you have a mask on. Instead of unlocking your phone instantly, it’ll ask for a passcode. That slows down the process. And that can be incredibly annoying.

We get it. Tech innovations like Face ID should adapt to the changing times. Unlocking your iPhone while having a mask on is now possible if it’s running on iOS 14.5. But, you also need Apple Watch to do that. But what if you don’t have that watch? Fortunately, we found some workarounds. Here’s how to unlock your iPhone with a mask on. 

Let’s get started! 

1. Unlock iPhone with a Mask On Using Apple Watch.

With an Apple Watch, you can unlock your iPhone with a Face ID, even with a mask on. It is a new feature, though. So you’ll need these requirements before you can use it:

  • Your Apple Watch has to be running on WatchOS 7.4.
  • Make sure your watch is unlocked while wearing it.
  • Enabled passcode is necessary. 
  • You need to update your iPhone to iOS 14.5.
  • Enabled wrist detection on Apple Watch is needed.

After completing the requirements, it’s time to activate Unlock with Apple Watch:

  1. On your phone, launch Settings.
  2. Click on Face ID & Passcode.
  3. Type your passcode. 
  4. Under the Unlock with Apple Watch section, tap and activate the toggle button beside your watch’s name.
how to unlock your iPhone with a mask on

Once done with the setup, here’s how to unlock your iPhone with Apple Watch:

  1. First, check if you’re wearing an unlocked Apple Watch.
  2. Then, wake your iPhone. You can do this by tapping its screen or raising it. 
  3. Next, glance at your iPhone with your mask on. It will automatically unlock. (An alert message will also show up on the screen of your Apple Watch.)
how to unlock your iPhone with a mask on
  1. Slide up from the bottom of the phone screen to start using it.

This new feature works merely for unlocking your iPhone. You can’t use it to verify your identity for Apple Pay and password-protected apps. That way, your iPhone remains secured.

2. Add an Alternate Appearance for Your Face ID.

What if you don’t have Apple Watch? Luckily, we have found this hack from Tencent. Researchers at Tencent’s Xuanwu Lab found you can train Face ID to recognize your face even if you’re wearing a face mask. One way to do that is to add an alternate face.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. On your iPhone, navigate to Settings.
  2. Select Face ID & Passcode. If prompted, enter your passcode.
  3. Tap Set Up an Alternate Appearance.
  4. In front of your camera, cover the lower right side of your face with a mask. Tencent researchers suggest covering only the tip of your nose. You’ll get an error if you cover too much. So make sure to do this setup in a safe place.
  5. If your iPhone alerts you with a message that says “Face Obstructed,” gradually move your mask away from the center of your face. Do that until the message “Move your head slowly to complete the circle” appears.
how to unlock your iPhone with a mask on
  1. For the second scan, repeat Steps 4 and 5.
  2. Once you’ve set alternate appearance, you’ll see “Face ID is now set up.”
  3. Lock your phone and test if you can unlock it with a face mask on. 

Try the steps again if necessary. But if you find it difficult to add an alternate appearance with your mask on, you can try more workarounds below.

3. Re-Enroll Your Face ID While Wearing a Face Mask. 

For some, the alternate appearance trick has worked. But it isn’t a foolproof hack. If you can’t train the biometric system to recognize your alternate “masked” appearance, you can re-enroll your Face ID while having a mask on. This method is worth a try.

The process is somewhat similar to Method 1. But you have to do a few tweaks. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go back to Settings
  2. Select Face ID & Passcode.
  3. Choose Reset Face ID.
  4. For the first scan, fold the mask and place it on the right side of your face. 
  5. Move the mask away from the center of your face if you get an alert that says “Face Obstructed.” Do that gradually until you see the message “Move your head slowly to complete the circle” on your screen.
  6. For the second scan, fold the mask and put it on the left side of your face. Again, make sure that the mask only covers the tip of your nose. And move the mask bit by bit until you see “Second Face ID scan complete.”
do a face id scan while covering half of your face
  1. After two scans, you’ll see the message “Face ID is now set up.”
  2. Lock your iPhone. Then, test if you can unlock it with a face mask on.

Want more tricks on how to unlock your iPhone with a mask on? Read more below.

4. Get to Passcode Screen More Quickly.

Arguably, the most annoying part of unlocking your iPhone while having a mask on is the lag. Your iPhone lags as it tries (and fails) to recognize your face. So why don’t you focus on minimizing that lag time? This could work if you don’t want to try other tricks.

In iOS 13.5 Beta, Apple made this process faster. iPhones on that version immediately prompted passcode whenever they detected a person with a face mask. But you can get to the passcode screen more quickly yourself. Just follow the instructions below.

Here’s how to get to the passcode screen faster:

  1. Instead of raising the iPhone in front of your face, swipe up on the screen.
  2. Tap Face ID in the center of the screen.
how to unlock your iPhone with a mask on
  1. The action above will immediately trigger the Passcode prompt to appear.
  2. Enter your Passcode to unlock your iPhone.

5. Change Notification Settings.

Uncomfortable using the previous methods because of iPhone security matters? You can try other things to make it easier to use your iPhone while wearing a face mask. These include changing the notification settings on your phone.

To be upfront, this isn’t a hack to unlock your iPhone when you have a face mask. It is a way to read time-sensitive texts and alerts without unlocking your iPhone at all.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. First, navigate to Settings.
  2. Select Notifications.
  3. Click on Show Previews. Then, select Always
  4. Go back to Settings. This time, choose Face ID & Passcode.
  5. Next, type your passcode. 
  6. Lastly, toggle off the button for Attention Awareness Features. This way, alerts won’t go unnoticed. Plus, the screen won’t dim as soon as you glance at your phone.
disable attention awareness features

After that, you no longer have to unlock your iPhone just to read a single text or look at one notification. You can keep your mask on and go about your day. 

6. Disable Face ID for Unlocking Your iPhone.

Our guide on how to unlock your iPhone with a mask on isn’t complete without teaching you to disable your Face ID. You can resort to this option if all else fails. This is also a good option if you don’t want to deal with all the available workarounds.

Here’s how to disable Face ID for unlocking your iPhone:

  1. First, head to Settings.
  2. Select Face ID & Passcode.
  3. Next, enter your passcode.
  4. Under the Use Face ID section, turn off the toggle button next to iPhone Unlock
  5. You can also disable Face ID in other cases (Password AutoFill, iTunes& App Store, and more.)
disable face id

This wraps up this guide on how to unlock your iPhone with a mask on. Hopefully, we’ve made your life in the “new normal” more convenient. Got more iPhone-related problems? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. We’ll do our best to help you.

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