Apple just dropped a bunch of new OS betas, bringing a pair of long-awaited features. IOS Beta 15.4 delivers the ability to unlock your phone with Face ID while wearing a mask (really upper-Face ID, if we’re going to be pendantic about it), while versions beta 15.4 of iPadOS and MacOS 12.3 deliver the delayed features, Universal Control.
Face ID with a mask on has — for obvious reasons — been a hotly requested feature since the outset of the pandemic. In April 2020, a feature was first reported that would drop the user to a password input screen when the phone spots a mask, and last February, iOS 14.5’s developer beta brought with it the ability to unlock the phone via a connected Apple Watch — a clever workaround of sorts.
The new beta version of the operating system finally delivers on the feature people have been requesting. Once enabled, the phone will use features around the eyes to determine whether it’s the right user. However, without the whole face, the reading is less accurate and, potentially, less secure, which is why it’s opt-in.
Over on the iPad/MacOS side of the fence, the company is finally rolling out a beta of Universal Control. Announced alongside macOS 12 Monterey, the feature was expected last year, but has since seen a notable delay. It’s currently anticipated for spring, though developer beta testers can get their hands on it now.
The feature is a kind of alternative to Sidecar. Whereas that feature turns an iPad into an additional display, however, Universal Control will automatically share a mouse cursor and keyboard between a Mac and iPad. Users can also pick up content on one device and drag and drop it between machines.
Also new for iOS are a number of additional emojis, including heart hands, a biting lip and pregnant person/man. The betas are available starting today. No word yet on final consumer availability.