iOS 14.5 is attempting to overcome the face ID mask issue on your Apple Watch

Apple’s new iPhones stuck with Face ID as a special form of biometric identification in an age where people wear face masks wherever they go. This inevitably means that you have to keep entering your passcode all day. Yet Apple has come up with a stopgap workaround that can make it easier to hack into your phone if you’re wearing a mask—as long as you’ve got Apple Watch.

As mentioned for the first time by Pocket-lint, the latest iOS 14.5 update, which entered beta today, uses the Apple Watch on your wrist to easily authenticate and activate your iPhone. Apple is still selling this handy trick on the Mac, but now it’s coming to the iPhone as well.

It functions exactly the same way here. You raise your iPhone to toggle on the device, and you’ll feel a bit of haptic feedback on your Apple Watch to show that your iPhone has been activated. Apps need to be in close proximity for this to work in the first place, which is a measure to keep the data secure. And this Apple Watch shortcut is only useful for unlocking your iPhone; purchases from the App Store and iTunes would also require more protection if your mask is hidden. And as a final security check, you’ll always be asked to enter your password every few hours, even though unlocking with Apple Watch is allowed.

This functionality hasn’t always been so reliable for some Mac users, so it’s going to take some experimentation to see if Apple has made it more smooth on the iPhone that people unlock a lot all day. Android has provided a similar advantage over the “smart lock” system for some time now.

It has been stated (most recently in The Wall Street Journal) that Apple is considering switching to an in-screen fingerprint reader to supplement the Face ID for the iPhone 13. The new iPad Air also features a Touch ID fingerprint scanner on the power button, so Apple definitely has the possibility of offering consumers more options in future iPhones.

iOS 14.5 also contains an interface monitoring transparency measures that businesses like Facebook are not satisfied with. Adds support for Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 controllers, adds dual-sim 5G features to customers worldwide, and also introduces certain Siri improvements, such as the option to dial emergency contacts.