How to set up Face ID with a mask

IOS 15.4 added the ability to set up Face ID to recognize you with a mask. Read more in our tutorial on how to do so!

Biometrics are a great way to get into your smartphone, as they’re convenient, unique to you, and pretty secure. In the case of the iPhone, it makes use of Face ID to log in to your phone, and additional hardware is used to ensure that it’s safe and secure. There’s a pretty major flaw, though, and that’s when you’re wearing a mask. Obviously, a mask covers a lot of your face, and it can be difficult to quickly and easily unlock your iPhone if you have one on. Apple originally got around that by allowing you to unlock your phone when wearing an Apple Watch and scanning the top half of your face, but iOS 15.4 took that a step further and introduced Face ID support while wearing a mask.

Face ID with a mask

How it works is that your smartphone will pay particular heed to the area around your eyes when scanning your face for face unlock. This means that while it’s slightly less secure, you can actually unlock your phone with ease when in public places and wearing a mask. Even better, you won’t need to shell out a few hundred dollars for a shiny new Apple Watch just to unlock your phone quickly. Obviously, you could have just entered a passcode to unlock your phone every time instead, but that’s slow, not to mention annoying.

Note that just like with regular Face ID, you’ll need to be looking at your phone in order for it to unlock. Please keep in mind that this also only works on the iPhone 12 and up.

How to set up Face ID with a mask

Setting up Face ID with a mask on the iPhone 13 Pro was a pretty simple process, and it will be the same for the iPhone 14 series. You’ll need to make sure you’re on the IOS 15.4 or newer in order to proceed, so be sure to check out how to install iOS betas.

  1. Firstly, navigate to your settings, and go to the Face ID section. Scroll down to the toggle that says “use Face ID with a mask” and flip it.
  2. Make sure to remove any face coverings when scanning your phone, as it requires a mask to be off. Attempting to scan with a face covering on will prompt a warning. It also requires that the face that it’s scanning is the same face that has already been registered to unlock your phone before.
  3. Rotate your head around the bubble that appears until it tells you that it has registered your face. Once it has, you should notice that the “use Face ID with a mask” toggle is now enabled and that you can unlock your phone while wearing a mask.

While a lot of regions have lifted mask requirements, it’s useful if you still wear one or if you’re still in a region that requires them. It’s a feature that saves you from needing to buy an Apple Watch if you do wear a mask frequently and still retain the convenience of Face ID.