Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Apple brings mask face unlock out of beta in iOS 15.4

iPhone users with Face ID on their big screen iPhones might be a little tired of having to type in a passcode to unlock their phones now may not have to as iOS 15.4 is live.

There’s typically a good reason to update your phone with software updates, because aside for the bevy of security patches and fixes it brings, it can also unlock new features entirely. We’re not just talking emoji, though clearly new emoji form a part of the updates, but rather useful feature drops that can make using a phone a little easier all around.

This week, there’s one of those for owners of the iPhone, specifically if you own an iPhone without a front-facing home button, which is most I Phones sold in the past four or five years. Think of the iPhone X, the iPhone XR, an iPhone XS Max and XS, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max and such, iPhone 12 range, models from last year’s iPhone 13 range, because they all have no home button with a fingerprint sensor underneath, and instead use a face analysis system to unlock your phone for you and only you.

However, that system has come with a problem these past couple of years during the coronavirus pandemic: by wearing a mask, Face ID hasn’t actually worked.

Apple has been working on a fix, though, and for the past few months, that fix has been in testing, with the release ready to roll out now.

If you’re an iPhone user stuck in that paradigm of not being able to unlock your iPhone to use your phone or pay for things until you either pull down your face mask or punch in your PIN, the iOS 15.4 update will give you a new feature in settings: Use Face ID with a Mask.

Once triggered, you may need to rescan your face, and this will use the features around your eye to unlock the phone. Essentially, to unlock a phone while Face ID with a Mask is switched on, you’ll need to look down at your phone’s camera at the top of an iPhone even while wearing a mask.

During testing of the update, we found this was enormously useful, and have been using it ever since, with it being much more reliable than we expected, so much that we’ve only needed to punch in our on-screen PIN a handful of times.

Alongside that release, Apple’s iOS 15.4 also incudes changes for AirTag aimed at telling people that AirTags used for crime can have date handed over to law enforcement, plus some improvements to password management, and an American Siri voice (voice 5) that is neither male nor female.

Owners of an iPhone and iPad will find iOS 15.4 rolling out now.

The red arrow shows the phone is unlocked while wearing a mask.
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