iOS 14.5, watchOS 7.4 betas unlock your iPhone with Apple Watch when wearing a mask

iPhone X passcode screen
iPhone X passcode screen (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • The first iOS 14.5, iOS 7.4 betas include a feature that unlocks your iPhone using your Apple Watch.
  • Apple Watch wearers will be able to unlock their iPhones even while wearing a mask.

The first betas of iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4 include a new feature that allows iPhones to be unlocked by an Apple Watch. The feature will make it easier to unlock Face ID-equipped iPhones while wearing a face mask.

As great as Face ID is, the wearing of a face mask does make it a little problematic. As a result, users have had to resort to entering their iPhone's passcode to unlock it. So long as they're wearing an Apple Watch, that will no longer be required.

iPhone can use your Apple Watch to unlock when Face ID detects a face with a mask. Your Apple Watch must be nearby, on your wrist, unlocked, and protected by a passcode.

It isn't yet clear whether this will also enable Apple Pay transactions without the need to enter a passcode, however.

Apple made the two beta updates available to developers earlier today and it's likely to be a few weeks before they're made available to the public. However, the fact Apple is working to find a way around the Face ID and mask problem is promising. Let's just hope that the feature is more reliable than the one that should allow Apple Watches to unlock Macs.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.