How to Use Face ID on Your iPhone While Wearing a Mask

A man wearing a mask while looking at an iPhone with Face ID.Alim Yakubov /

“Face ID is designed to work with your eyes, nose and mouth visible,” says Apple. If you wear a mask at grocery stores and other public places, this is a problem. Here’s what you need to know about unlocking your iPhone with Face ID while wearing a mask.

Apple’s iOS 13.5 update will help you

Soon, your iPhone will better detect face covers. When Face ID note that you are wearing a mask, it will promptly ask for your PIN or password. You won’t have to sit there and wait for Face ID to try not to detect your face. It will be a great improvement.

This is part of the iOS 13.5 update which also includes the new digital contact search. Apple released the fourth beta developer for that on May 6, 2020. We hope that it will soon be available as stable software for everyone.

As pointed out @ Sonikku_a2, if you wear a mask, iOS 13.5 goes directly to the access code screen if you try to unlock it with Face ID (the keyboard is not displayed because iOS hides it in the screen recordings)

– Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) April 29, 2020

Can you configure face identification with a mask?

Although Face ID can’t normally recognize your face by wearing a mask, some people have offered an alternative: setting up a “new look” while wearing a mask.

Your iPhone will allow you to “Configure an alternate appearance” and will unlock for your primary or secondary appearance. This feature can be used to configure the appearance of a family member, for example, and you and that family member can unlock the iPhone.

In theory, you can put on your mask, go to Settings> Face ID and password> Configure an alternative appearance and configure your appearance while wearing a mask.

Most people have reported, however, that it doesn’t work for them. The iPhone’s facial recognition is designed to look at your nose and your mouth. It can sometimes work for some people, but it is not designed to work. We wouldn’t count on it.

Configuring an alternative appearance on an iPhone

How to start typing your PIN faster

If you unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask, you will normally have to wait for Face ID to fail before you can enter your PIN. There is a quick way to get around this delay.

While Face ID is trying to scan your face, tap the words “Face ID” in the middle of the screen. The prompt to enter the PIN or password appears and you can quickly enter your code. You do not need to wait for Face ID to fail and offer the password prompt.

Ignore the Face ID prompt on an iPhone

How to deactivate Face ID for Apple Pay

If you have an iPhone with Face ID, you will probably want to leave it activated. When you’re at home and you’re not wearing a mask, Face ID is a quick way to unlock your iPhone without entering a PIN code.

However, you may want to disable Face ID in certain situations. For example, if you pay with Apple Pay at the store and want to quickly enter your PIN rather than waiting for Face ID, you can deactivate Face ID for Apple Pay.

To do this, go to Settings> Face ID and password and deactivate “Apple Pay” under “Use Face ID for”.

Configuring Face ID settings on an iPhone

When you double-tap the side button of your iPhone to start paying with Apple Pay, you can immediately press “Pay with a password” and type in your password rather than waiting for Face ID to try to fail.

You can also choose to disable Face ID to unlock your iPhone on the Settings> Face ID & Passcode screen. Simply deactivate the “iPhone Unlock” function and Face ID will not be used to unlock your iPhone. You can start typing your password immediately after waking your iPhone from sleep. You may want to turn it off before you leave with a mask and turn it on when you get home, for example.

How to unlock your iPhone less often

With Face ID, unlocking your iPhone is pretty quick. With your password, you must enter a code each time you take your phone out of your pocket.

At least this is the default arrangement. If you want to spend less time typing in your password and unlocking your iPhone in public, consider changing the automatic lock setting.

To do this, go to Settings> Display & Brightness> Auto Lock and choose a delay. For example, if you set your iPhone to “Never” automatic locking, you can unlock it once and leave the screen on when you put it in your pocket. Every time you take your phone out of your pocket, the screen is on and you can start using it immediately – until you turn off the iPhone with its power button.

Choose when an iPhone automatically locks

Disabling automatic locking – or making it less frequent – will obviously consume more battery power than simply letting your iPhone go to sleep. However, if you plan to use your iPhone in a grocery store or other public place, you can simply unlock it once, tell it not to lock automatically, and you won’t have to type in your passcode until you turn it off. This could easily be worth the battery compromise when shopping.

If you do, consider disabling automatic locking when you go out in public and re-enabling it when you get home. It’s best if your iPhone’s battery life is on most of the time.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to disinfect your iPhone after using it public. Apple now says you can use disinfectant wipes on your iPhone.

RELATED: How to safely clean your iPhone with disinfectant wipes

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