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Apple Providing Solution to FaceID and Masks

  • Since the world went into lock down it has become evident that FaceID on Apple iPhone’s is not coping with people wearing masks.
Apple FaceID
Apple FaceID
This has been a frustrating time for users, many of whom are needing to wear masks for key working, as well as those choosing to wear them for social distancing. Apple acknowledged there is a problem but there is no easy fix. It seems they have listened though and are planning to try and help when iOS13 .5 is released sometime next week. 

Beta Testing 

Currently, iOS 13.5 is in its third phase of beta testing. There are several different issues that this has been designed to address, and one of those is a new face ID behaviour to enable the handsets to work when the user is wearing some form of PPE mask. Sadly, it isn't a total fix, and the phone still can't read your face through a mask. However, it will switch straight to pass code entry if it cannot determine your face, cutting the time it takes to unlock your handset down.


Currently when you lift the handset to your face, the front facing camera scans using the TrueDepth array. If it cannot determine and match your face the handset vibrates, and the screen indicates there's a problem. Once the faceID procedures time out, the handset invites you to swipe up to get the lock screen via passcode access instead. Anyone that has experienced this will know how slow and frustrating it can be waiting for faceID to time out and decide it isn't going to unlock the phone for you. 

Faster Access Process

What will happen now, is IOS 13.5 will skip a step. Instead of hanging around waiting for faceID to decide it can't read your face after all, the handset will immediately present you the option to swipe up and use your pass code instead. This will work for Apple Pay, and as contactless payments are still being promoted as the safest way to make payment to avoid any form of direct contact with the chip and pin reader, this is helpful. 

This has become such a critical issue, it won't be long before Apple brings the final version to the masses but in the meantime, you can access it using beta  from this week. The Apple Beta Testing programme is available to anyone, however you have to remember it can potentially cause issues to your handset as beta versions of software are unstable. If you want to join, register your handset and each time a new version becomes available you will be prompted to run an iOS update as you normally do. 

The only other potential warning is that some features included in beta testing do not make it to the final version. However it doesn't seem likely that this is something they will cut given the continued pressure from users and the fact that a large percentage of the population of the world still remains in lockdown.