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Unlock your iPhone with the Apple Watch: Apple's Face ID solution with a mask on

NextPit unlock iphone with apple watch
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If you have already received the iOS 14.5 update from Apple, you would be pleased to know that you can now unlock your iPhone via the Apple Watch. Finally, a solution that enables you to use the iPhone without having to enter the passcode even when you are being responsible by wearing a face mask. NextPit will show you just how easy the unlocking process is.

If you use an iPhone without Touch ID, you would surely be very familiar with the problem. For instance, you want to check out your digital shopping list at the grocery store while wearing a face mask. Since Face ID needs to scan your face to unlock the iPhone, doing so is virtually impossible when wearing a face mask as you will have to take the passcode route instead. This is a cumbersome process and definitely a hassle, especially when you're wearing gloves during winter or on colder days.

In the iOS 14.5 update, Apple has finally come up with a solution to the problem. If you also use the Apple Watch in addition to the iPhone, you can also unlock the connected iPhone through this method. For this, the Apple smartwatch doesn't even require your fingerprint to unlock your smartphone. Here's our guide:

How To Unlock Your iPhone with the Apple Watch

By default, this feature remains disabled in iOS 14.5. In order to enable it, go to your iPhone's settings and head to the "Face ID & Passcode" menu. There, as seen in the screenshot, you'll see an option to unlock via Apple Watch under "Unlock with Apple Watch".

NextPit unlock iphone with apple watch closeup
In the settings, you have to activate the "Unlock with Apple Watch" option / © NextPit

Once you've enabled the setting, you'll need to turn on this feature again in a pop-up window:

NextPit unlock iphone with apple watch closeup2
Once you have turned on the feature, you're ready to go! / © NextPit

To try it out, you'll need to wear your Apple Watch, and it needs to be unlocked as well. Now pick up your locked iPhone or tap on the screen to wake it. If Face ID fails, your Apple Watch will vibrate briefly and the iPhone will be unlocked. You will now have to get used to this process when wearing face masks.

Is unlocking while wearing a mask less secure?

While the new way to unlock doesn't access biometric data, it's still pretty secure. That's because privacy-sensitive information like Apple Pay is not accessed even when unlocking via Apple Watch. Furthermore, this feature works only when your Apple Watch is connected to your iPhone.

You'll also need to enter a passcode to use the Apple Watch, and that's required every time you take it off and wear it back. This means someone cannot simply grab your Apple Watch and iPhone and access your data.

What do you think of this convenient new feature in Apple iOS 14.5? Have you already tried unlocking using the Apple Watch, or do you prefer unlocking with a passcode while wearing a face mask?

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Benjamin Lucks

Benjamin Lucks
Head of Editorial DE

Ben has been working in tech journalism since 2018, was a freelancer in the middle of the CoVid-crisis and has been full-time at NextPit since November '20. Since then he has tries to find the right mix between professional competence, humor and fresh perspectives in reviews and texts.

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