IOS 13.5, faster facial unlocking, even with a faceplate

Apple is working on a viable alternative to FaceID to use when wearing a faceplate. Here's how it works

Face ID is one of the most popular features among Apple users, who love to unlock their iPhone by mirroring themselves in the device like modern-day Narcissus. The Covid-19 emergency, however, has changed everything: with the face mask, unlocking your face becomes much more difficult.

And since the use of the mask is now becoming mandatory worldwide, there are millions of iPhone users who have this problem. The easy alternative is to disable Face ID, sacrificing some of your smartphone's security. Apple, however, is working on another solution coming with iOS 13.5, whose beta released a few days ago to developers contains some lines of code that hint at how Apple wants to handle the Face ID issue with the mask worn. If these lines of code will become reality in the final version distributed to users, then, Apple in a way will be able to save goats and cabbages.

iOS 13.5: the FaceID with the mask

The code we're talking about does nothing but analyze the face, recognize if it is covered by a mask and, only in that case, skip Face ID altogether in favor of unlocking with numeric PIN. In practice, when the presence of a face mask is detected, the user will be able to swipe up and directly enter the numeric code to unlock the phone. There will be no need to configure anything and everything will be automatic: when the user will not have the mask on the face, the iPhone will notice it and will leave the Face ID working.

Reconfigure Face ID to recognize the mask

This novelty, as already said, is not yet there and it is not sure that it will be introduced in the next version of Apple's mobile operating system. In the meantime, however, there is the possibility of configuring the phone to recognize us even with the faceplate. It works well, but not great, and it's not as secure as regular facial unlocking because, at the end of the day, with the faceplate we all look alike.

To try how it works just go to Settings > Face ID and code > Alternative appearance. This will start the Face ID configuration process, during which we'll have to bend the mask we're wearing to show half a face at a time. Sometimes it takes multiple attempts and with more complex and covering masks it's more difficult, but it's worth a try.