Face ID will soon work with masks! Hooray!

IOS 15.4, now in beta, supports Face ID with masks.

Nowadays, anytime I’m indoors and not at home, I’m in a store buying something, so this will be very convenient for me. Even more important for many frontline healthcare providers, who need to use their phones while masked all day every working day.


Works really well with the Apple Watch for unlocking, but not everyone has a watch.


Yes! Presumably it has already been working if you also have a paired Apple watch, but that hasn’t worked well for me (iPhone unlocks but Wallet does not which makes masked touchless pay difficult).

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Not going to buy a new phone just to get this feature.

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You don’t have to if your phone supports iOS 15.

From the article you posted:

Face ID with a Mask is available on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models. If you have an iPhone 11or older, the feature will not be available to you. It’s not clear if this is a temporary restriction, and it’s possible Apple could be planning to expand the feature to other devices in future betas.

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Also, healthcare staff are often banned from wearing watches whilst at work due to infection prevention rules so this change could be useful.


Like most Apple services and software, it depends. For most, I am sure it does. In my case it frequently unlocks when I don’t want it to because the phone gets a glimpse of my face when I don’t intend it to — such as when getting out of my car —and fails to unlock when I’m standing in a doorway to a shop and it refuses repeated attempts to unlock. Best of all is when I give in and type my reasonably long passphrase in and while I’m typing it unlocks via my watch.

I’ve tried pinning it down to which mask, whether I have sunglasses, etc, and there is no apparent pattern to the failures.

Indeed. No joy on my iPhone X?

(Watch variant sometimes fails)

I’m on the beta and it’s pretty awesome. Drove some go-karts this weekend and it even worked wearing a full-faced helmet.


Well, drat. Me and my iPhone XS are out of luck.