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It’s such an issue that New York’s mass transit agency wants Apple to do something to improve Face ID, so it’ll work with face coverings.
According to the Associated Press, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Patrick Foye sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook regarding Face ID.
In the letter, Foye explains that many riders remove their masks to use Face ID instead of entering their passcode. When they remove their face-covering in a crowded subway or bus, they put themselves and others at risk.
Foye even offered to help Apple spread the word about any modifications that’ll make it possible to use Face ID with a mask.
“We understand Apple is working to address the issue and know that Apple has a range of technologies at its disposal as a global leader among tech companies. We urge Apple to accelerate the deployment of new technologies and solutions that further protect customers in the era of COVID-19.”Patrick Foye, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman
Apple is well aware of the issue with masks and Face ID. When the coronavirus pandemic first hit, many iPhone users complained about Face ID and how long it took them to unlock their iPhones.
Before they could unlock their iPhone with a passcode, they had to wait for Face ID to reject their mask-covered face and then finally show the passcode screen.
Apple has not publicly responded to the latest request, so we don’t know if they are working on ways to make Face ID recognize a mask.
To remedy this delay, Apple issued the iOS 13.5 update in May, which shortened the length of the Face ID scan. Almost immediately after swiping up on the screen, the iPhone presented the passcode screen. Even though they still had to enter their passcode, this update made it significantly faster to unlock a phone.
To assist New Yorkers, Apple also developed Apple Pay Express Transit, which allows riders to pay with their phone or Apple Watch without unlocking these devices. iPhone owners can pay automatically without having to deal with Face ID and removing their masks. The payment system is available on select bus and subway lines.