How to automatically unlock the iPhone when we wear a face mask and the Apple Watch

With iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4 Apple has enabled the ability to directly unlock the smartphone when wearing a mask. In this article we see how to proceed and why the system is safe.

One of the most anticipated innovations included in iOS 14.5 is certainly the automatic unlocking of the iPhone when we wear a mask. To be able to achieve all this it is necessary to wear an Apple Watch and in this article we will explain how it all works and how to set it up.

Until now, when we wore a face mask, Face ID did not work, prompting you to enter the unlock code immediately, a very slow and inconvenient process.

In iOS 14.5, things change for Apple Watch owners, as unlocking becomes automatic if set correctly.

How to automatically unlock the iPhone when we wear a mask using our Apple Watch

1. First you need to update both the iPhone and the Apple Watch to their respective versions 14.5 and 7.4 . After completing this process, you can continue.

2. From the iPhone go to Settings> Face ID and code> Enter the security code with the keypad and scroll the page until you find “Unlock with Apple Watch”.

3. The label below will show the name of your Apple Watch and just enable the switch by pointing it to green. From now on, you can use Apple Watch unlocking when using the bezel.

How does the automatic release with mask work and what does it consist of? It’s safe?

Security is the most important thing of all so know that this automatic unlocking system only comes into action if the iPhone detects a face wearing a mask. If not, it will proceed with normal use of Face ID. If you are wearing a face mask, the following options will then be checked:

  • If the Apple Watch is yours, then if it is paired with your iPhone;
  • If the Apple Watch is worn (if it is on your wrist)
  • If the Apple Watch uses a numeric unlock code
  • If the Apple Watch was unlocked by entering the 4-digit passcode
  • If the Apple Watch is near the iPhone

Once all these requirements have been met (which can be checked in a matter of milliseconds), then the Apple Watch will proceed with the unlocking of your iPhone allowing you to access the Home screen without having to lower the bezel and without having to enter the unlock code.

The option is safe because : if the Apple Watch is not on your wrist, the unlock will not happen. If it is on your wrist but a friend asks you to lend it to him for a moment, when you go to remove it, the smartwatch will instantly lock and ask for the 4-digit unlock code. In this situation, the Apple Watch (worn by a friend of yours) will not be able to unlock your phone because the PIN must first be entered on it.

On the contrary, if you are wearing the Apple Watch (which is therefore unlocked) and if a friend takes your iPhone to unlock it without a code, you will be notified by the watch first with a haptic feedback (vibration) and then with a notification. In case of improper / unauthorized unlock, you can instantly lock your iPhone starting from this notification that arrives on the Apple Watch. At that point (by pressing on that notification) it will no longer be possible to unlock the iPhone again automatically because it will be necessary to enter the unlock code.

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