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iOS 13.5: Unlocking device when wearing face mask is now faster

I know I’m not the only one who’s irked when donning a face mask and struggling to unlock my iPhone with Face ID. There are essentially three options: temporarily remove your mask to unlock with your face; wait a couple of seconds (and sometimes more) for passcode unlock; or use an Android phone/iPhone with a fingerprint sensor. Depending on my mood, I do one of the three. Well, the good news is, Apple has stepped up to make the experience better. With the latest iOS 13.5 update, it’s much quicker and simpler to unlock your iPhone when you’re wearing a face mask.

Contrary to what some assume, Face ID does not allow you to unlock your iPhone with a face mask on. That would be a security risk.

Instead, the passcode field is automatically presented after you swipe up from the bottom of the Lock screen when you’re wearing a face mask. It no longer attempts to unlock with Face ID, saving you a good couple of seconds. This feature also works when you’re authenticating the App Store, Apple Books, Apple Pay, iTunes, and other apps that support Face ID sign-in.

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In addition, iOS 13.5 introduces the Exposure Notification API to support COVID-19 contact tracing apps from public health authorities.

The new update also introduces an option to control automatic prominence on Group FaceTime calls so video tiles do not change size when a participant speaks.

A US-only feature relates to emergency services. When you place an emergency call, you have the option to automatically share health and other essential information from your Medical ID with emergency services.

This update also fixes an issue where users may see a black screen when trying to play streaming video from some websites. Finally, it addresses an issue in the share sheet where suggestions and actions may not load.

iOS 13.5 is an over-the-air update. Head over to Settings > General > Software Update

The full list of enhancements of this release can be found here.

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By Vernon

Vernon is the founder and chief editor of A graphic designer by profession, he has a deep love for technology, cars, gadgets, food, and travel. He tweets too much and is also known as a caffeine bacterium ("life's too short for bad coffee"). Bleeds Blue (go Chelsea FC!) and considers BMW, Porsche, Alfa Romeo cars to have in the garage--for true petrolheads, that is.

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