iOS 14.5 makes it quicker for mask wearers to unlock their iPhone. Here’s how

iPhone users are too familiar with not being able to unlock the phone with Face ID while wearing a mask. But the new iOS 14.5 update lets users unlock their phones with their Apple Watch if a face mask is detected, and I’m so pumped it’s a thing.

If you’re out and you’re wearing a mask, this new update lets you raise and glance at your iPhone to unlock it—as long as you have your Apple Watch on you. However, you would need to set it up as it wouldn’t appear automatically after you’ve updated your iPhone and Watch.

Here’s how to set the feature up:

  • Make sure that you have an iPhone X or later, with iOS 14.5 or later
  • Make sure that you have an Apple Watch Series 3 or later ,with watchOS 7.4 or later
  • Open the Settings app on your iPhone
  • Tap Face ID & Passcode, then type your passcode
  • Enable the Unlock with Apple Watch feature. If your watch doesn’t have wrist detection enabled, you’re asked to turn it on

Once you’ve enabled the feature, you’re able to unlock your iPhone with your Watch. To test the feature out, make sure you’re wearing a mask and that your Apple Watch is on your wrist and unlocked. You can then glance at your iPhone to unlock it, and you’ll even get an “unlock” sound from your Watch, or just a vibration if your Watch is on silent.

When I first enabled it, I had trouble figuring it out at first. However, I just needed to make sure that my Apple ecosystem met its criteria. Below are the list of criteria you’d need to meet.

  • Your Apple Watch needs to be paired with your iPhone
  • Your iPhone and Apple Watch need to have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on
  • Your Apple Watch needs to have a passcode, and wrist detection must be turned on
  • Your Apple Watch needs to be on your wrist and unlocked
  • You need to be wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose
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If you didn’t mean to unlock your iPhone, you can tap the Lock iPhone button on your Apple Watch screen. But the next time you unlock your iPhone after tapping this button, your iPhone requires that you type your passcode again.

Besides being able to unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch, the iOS 14.5 update also lets you change your Siri’s go-to music app to Spotify or the music platform of your choice. It also includes one of the most controversial updates—the App Tracking Transparency feature.


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Dzamira Dzafri