A pedestrian wearing a protective mask uses her mobile phone as she walks past an Apple iPhone ad on Orchard Road in Singapore.
Wei Leng Tay | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Apple will soon allow you to unlock your iPhone as long as you are wearing an Apple Watch. This means that it will be much easier to unlock the phone while using a mask, which you currently need to remove for Face ID to work.
The feature will launch sometime this spring when Apple launches iOS 1
It works very well. You may be familiar with the process if you have a Mac and an Apple Watch – you can already unlock a Mac just by getting close to it on your Apple Watch, for example.
The experience is very similar to the iPhone. If you have a mask on (or even if you do not have one), just swipe up from the bottom of the iPhone screen. Your iPhone will scan parts of your face, and the Apple Watch will give a slight hiss indicating that it was used to unlock the iPhone. It unlocks in an instant, just like Face ID does when you are not wearing a mask.
I tested it with more than just a mask as well. I kept my shirt covering my forehead and eyes, and it worked. It did not work when I blocked my entire face or if I tried to unlock the phone without being in front of it.
Here’s how to set it up when iOS 14.5 comes out.
How to unlock iPhone with Apple Watch
Unlocks iPhone with Apple Watch using iOS 14.5.
Todd Haselton | CNBC
I tested this using iOS 14.5 beta. But when the software is out for everyone this spring, you will be able to follow these steps to get it configured.
- Open settings on iPhone.
- Press Face ID and password.
- Enter the password for your iPhone.
- Scroll down to “Unlock with Apple Watch.”
- Replace the button next to the Apple Watch so that it is on.
That’s it. Now when you go to unlock iPhone with a mask on, you will feel a gentle hiss on the Apple Watch when it unlocks iPhone.