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Face ID with Mask – long-awaited feature finally here

It might be a full two years since masks entered our lives in a big way thanks to COVID-19, but at long last Apple has added Face ID support for mask-wearers. Before now, workarounds had included Unlock with Apple Watch and reverting to the good ol’ fashioned numerical passcode, but as of iOS 15.4, users can use Apple’s facial scanning feature even if the lower half of their face is obscured.

Even for those who don’t wear a mask, this is a welcome update as it also improves Face ID’s ability to recognize you while wearing glasses.

You’ll need to have updated your iPhone to iOS 15.4 to give this feature a try, which you can do by launching Settings, tapping General, and choosing Software Update.

Once updated, you’ll be prompted to configure Face ID with a Mask. It’s also possible to enable (and disable) the feature from the Settings app: navigate to Face ID & Passcode, input your passcode, and select Face ID with a Mask from there.

Configuring the feature is simple enough – Apple simply requires an extra scan of your face, although if you’re a glasses wearer, you’ll also be prompted to complete further scans with each pair of glasses you own. This is because Apple uses “unique features around the eyes” when authenticating your mask-covered face.

Remove your glasses for a further scan.

It’s worth noting that Face ID with a Mask is less accurate than the usual, full-face Face ID, although in our testing it worked pretty well. There might be a few Face ID misfires, but it’s still a heck of a lot better than punching in your six-digit passcode.