Apple will make it easier to unlock your iPhone while wearing a face mask

Face ID was a great idea — until large swathes of the world were forced to wear face masks, rendering it largely useless.

Apple has apparently heard our pain.

Users are reporting a subtle new feature in the latest developer version of iOS 13.5 that will make it easier to unlock your iPhone without having to take off your protective face mask.

Videos shared on Twitter by Robert Petersen and Guilherme Rambo show that Apple devices with Face ID will jump to the backup passcode-entry screen if it detects a mask. That’s not only helpful if you’re unlocking your phone dozens of times a day — which we all do — but it’s also helping to keep people safe by not forcing users to take off their masks, potentially exposing themselves to the virus.

Apple’s new Face ID unlock feature in iOS 13.5 beta (Source: Guilherme Rambo)

It’s not known if this feature will land in the final version of the software update. But one feature that will be included for sure is a new contact tracing API, built by Apple and Google in partnership, which lets national health authorities build apps that can help users privately and anonymously find out if they’ve been exposed to someone with coronavirus.

iOS 13.5 is expected to land in the coming weeks.