Apple has released a software update that enables iPhone users to unlock their devices while having face masks on. The new update, iOS 15.4, released on Monday also includes a host of other features for existing iPhones.
In a statement, Apple said the new feature allowing users to unlock their iPhones using Face ID while having masks on is exclusive to iOS 15.4 and only available on iPhone 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, and iPhone 13, 13 Mini, 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max.
Once the device is updated, users will see the option to use Face ID with a mask on the welcome screen, the statement said.
Other improvements in the update include safety messages during AirTag setup, a new Siri voice and the ability to answer questions about time and date while offline.
Tap to pay on iPhone, a service that allows users to accept credit cards through Apple Pay; Universal Control, a feature that allows users to drag and drop files between an iPad and a Mac; the ability to scan text directly into a file in the Notes app; and additional SharePlay integration to allow users to quickly share songs and other content over FaceTime are other features included in the update.
Enabling the facial recognition technology to work with face masks is something that users anticipated since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.
Apple did try to address the concern by bringing a faster way to unlock Face ID-equipped devices using passcodes when wearing face masks. In fact, it also enabled the option to unlock Face ID using an Apple Watch last year.
In addition to iOS 15.4, Apple is bringing iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3. The new software releases come with Universal Control that will allow users to control iPad and Mac simultaneously using a single keyboard and mouse.