How to unlock iPhone with Apple Watch when the mask is on

Face ID on iPhone is an extremely secure form of biometric authentication. It’s also super fast and makes unlocking the device a breeze. But once you put on a mask to fight COVID-19, you have no choice but to go back to using that slow and cumbersome device passcode. Crazy, isn’t it?

Apple knows that. So it made the means to unlock iPhone with Face ID regardless of whether you are wearing a mask or not. The point is that you need an Apple Watch. Quick note: currently, this feature is only for unlocking your iPhone, you cannot use it to unlock Face ID based apps.

How to unlock iPhone with Face ID with active mask

You don’t need to re-enter your iPhone’s 4-6 digit device passcode when wearing a mask. As long as you also have an Apple Watch and both devices are running at least iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4, you can go back to using Face ID, even if you have your face covered. Here’s how it works.

Whenever you pick up your iPhone to use Face ID, the infrared sensor next to the forward facing camera kicks in and tries to identify you. If successful, it will unlock the device. If it fails, it will skip asking you to enter your passcode and communicate with your Apple Watch instead.

As long as your Apple Watch is passcode-protected, unlocked, and strapped to your wrist, Face ID will consider it as you and grant you access to your iPhone. It’s quick and takes just a fraction of a second longer than unlocking the device with Face ID alone. You won’t notice a difference.

Unlocked Apple Watch

That raises many security concerns. But Apple designed Face ID to work with the Apple Watch in a way that minimizes the chances of anyone else accessing your iPhone without permission.

  • You must use a passcode-protected Apple Watch.
  • You must wear your Apple Watch to your wrist and unlock it before you can use it to authenticate your iPhone. It uses a built-in feature called Wrist Detection to determine that your watch is nearby.
  • You also have to unlock your iPhone with Face ID or its passcode every time you put your Apple Watch on your wrist — for example, when you leave the house.
  • Your Apple Watch will notify you with a tap of your wrist, followed by a notification when Face ID unlocks the device for you. Notifications feature Lock iPhone option that you can tap to lock your device if someone else unlocks your iPhone without your knowledge.
  • Your iPhone will return asking for the passcode if it detects sudden movement away from your Apple Watch.
  • Your Apple Watch cannot verify Apple Pay transactions or provide access to Face ID-protected apps.

How to activate Apple Watch to unlock iPhone with Face ID

The functionality to allow Face ID to unlock iPhone with Apple Watch doesn’t work by default. You must enable this feature manually by going through the Face ID & Passcode settings on your iOS device.

If you’re having trouble performing the steps below, go to “Can’t activate Apple Watch to unlock iPhone? This is the “To-Do” section and try again.

1. Open Setting app on your iPhone.

2. Scroll down and press Face ID & Passcode.

3. Enter your device passcode.

A visual guide on how to enable FaceID on Apple Watch

4. Scroll down Unlock with Apple Watch section. Then turn on the side switch [Your name]Apple Watch’s.

Switch Apple Watch

5. Press Turn on.

6. Exit the Settings app.

How to unlock iPhone with Face ID when the mask is on

Now you’re ready to use Face ID to unlock your iPhone despite wearing a mask. The following steps will prove it.

1. Put your Apple Watch on your wrist. Then, tap the watch face and enter your watchOS passcode.

2. Unlock iPhone once with Face ID (if you’re not already wearing a mask) or your device passcode.

Enter the Passcode screen on the Watch

3. Try locking, then unlock your iPhone with a mask. Your iPhone will authenticate and unlock itself through your Apple Watch in no time.

Your Apple Watch will tap your wrist and display a notification labeled [Your Name]Your iPhone is unlocked with this Apple Watch. Touch Lock iPhone option if you accidentally unlocked your iOS device (or if someone did it without permission).

Apple Watch Unlocked Notification

Whenever you take off and put your Apple Watch back on, you must unlock your iPhone normally again before you can access it with Face ID while wearing a mask.

Can’t activate Apple Watch to unlock your iPhone? This is what needs to be done

Your iPhone and Apple Watch must be running iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4 or later. Otherwise, you cannot activate the function that allows you to use Face ID when the mask is on. Even if you have the latest versions of iOS and watchOS installed, you should still check for updates. They often contain improvements and fixes for known issues.

Additionally, your Apple Watch must be passcode protected and have Active Wrist Detection. Working your way through the instructions below will ensure that everything is in order.

Update iPhone

1. Open Setting app on your iPhone.

2. Press Shared.

3. Press Software updates.

4. Wait until your iPhone finishes scanning for new software updates.

5. Press Download and install.

A visual guide on how to update your iPhone

Update Apple Watch

1. Open Clock app on your iPhone.

2. Press Shared.

3. Press Software updates.

4. Wait for your iPhone to finish scanning for new watchOS updates.

5. Press Download settings.

A visual guide to updating your Apple Watch

Add a passcode to Apple Watch

1. Press the button Digital crown on your Apple Watch and tap Setting.

2. Scroll down and press Code.

3. Press Turn on passcode. Then set a passcode.

Settings > Passcode > Enable Passcode ” class=”wp-image-12542″  /></figure>
<h4><span class=Enable wrist detection on Apple Watch

1. Press the button Digital crown on your iPhone and press Setting.

2. Scroll down and press Code.

3. Scroll down the screen and turn on the switch next to it Wrist detection.

Settings > Passcode > Wrist Detection” class=”wp-image-12543″  /></figure>
<h2><span class=Face ID with Apple Watch: Safety and Security

Unlocking your iPhone with Apple Watch eliminates the hassle of using a passcode, but it also gives you another reason to never take off your mask in public.

Any Apple Watch that supports watchOS 7.4 or later will work. So if you haven’t already, it’s a much cheaper solution than switching to an iPhone with Touch ID. The Apple Watch also comes with many health-related benefits, making it a worthy investment.

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