Unlocking Your iPhone
Naturally, iOS 15.4 addresses the one thing you’ll be doing most often with your iPhone: unlocking it with Face ID.
While mask-wearing Apple Watch users have been able to do this since iOS 14.5 came out last year, that wasn’t a big help for folks who don’t wear an Apple Watch. Plus, some users may have shied away from the watch method due to security concerns — it would work for anybody wearing a mask, not just you, as long as they were within a few feet of your Apple Watch.
With iOS 15.4, however, there’s no need for the Apple Watch to be involved at all, and it’s even easier to set up. All you need to do is agree to switch it on and let your iPhone rescan your face to get the additional detail required to analyze only the area around your eyes.
When upgrading to iOS 15.4, you’ll be prompted to “Use Face ID with a Mask;” If you agree to do so, your iPhone will take you through the setup process then and there. However, if you missed that, you can still opt-in with a quick trip into Settings > Face ID & Passcode, where you’ll see a switch for “Face ID with a Mask.” Just toggle that on and follow the instructions.
You also don’t need to wear a mask when rescanning your face to enable this feature. In fact, it won’t work if you do. Just let your iPhone scan your entire face.
You’ll also have to go through an extra step if you wear glasses. Since Face ID only has the upper half of your face to work with, it needs to rescan your face for each pair of glasses you wear. Fortunately, it’s not any different from the regular Face ID training; just put on your glasses and then go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode and tap Add Glasses.
If you regularly wear more than one pair of glasses, you’ll need to repeat this while wearing each of them. However, note that you won’t be able to use this feature with most sunglasses, as the tinting hides too much detail from the Face ID sensors.
Once everything is set up, unlocking your iPhone while wearing a mask works like standard Face ID. The only catch is that while wearing a mask, you will need to be looking directly at your iPhone, even if you have the “Require Attention for Face ID” setting turned off.