Apple has steadfastly stuck with a single biometric authentication method on its new iPhones—Face ID. In the era of frantic hand sanitising and wearing face masks daily, though, it can be a hassle having to enter your passcode manually and constantly throughout the day. However, the upcoming iOS 14.5 update (now in developer beta) introduces a new, handy trick to unlock your iPhone—with the condition you own an Apple Watch.
If you remember, Apple changed how Face ID worked with a face mask on in the April release of iOS 13.5. It was easier to skip the Face ID prompt while wearing a mask by instantly displaying the passcode screen.
And now, with an Apple Watch on your wrist, you’ll be able to quickly authenticate and unlock your iPhone, without removing your mask. It’s similar to how you can unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch.
9to5Mac explains the feature perfectly. Before any of this works, though, you’ll need to enable the “Unlock with Apple Watch” feature in the Settings app on your iPhone. Once you flip the toggle, you’ll be able to use the feature as long as these following conditions are met: Face ID must detect a mask; your Apple Watch must be nearby and on your wrist; it must be unlocked and has a passcode enabled.
Note that you must enable the Apple Watch wrist detection feature or else the “Unlock with Apple Watch” feature will not work.
Once enabled, your iPhone will unlock automatically with your Apple Watch the next time you’re wearing a mask.
When your iPhone unlocks, you will receive a haptic feedback and notification on your Apple Watch, notifying you that your phone has been unlocked by the Apple Watch.
Additionally, there’s an option to quickly lock your iPhone from the Apple Watch notification.
For App Store and iTunes purchases, other authentication methods are still required if your face is covered.
As there is no public beta available, iPhone users will need to wait longer for the official release sometime down the line.