With iOS 15.4 beta 1 Apple is starting to test the ability to use Face ID while wearing a mask but without the need for an Apple Watch around. Not only that, but the company is also improving glasses support.

Mask support was first spotted by YouTuber Brandon Butch. On the screenshot, you can read Apple’s explanation about this feature:

“Face ID is most accurate when it’s set up for full-face recognition only. To use Face ID while wearing a mask, iPhone can recognize the unique features around the eye to authenticate.”

With that, you can set up the facial recognition feature with or without a mask. You won’t need to wear a mask during setup though, even if you choose facial recognition with a mask.

To set this new feature, just head to your iPhone settings, “Face ID & Passcode,” and choose “Use Face ID with a mask.”

Although Apple is at least two years behind, this feature is very handy as a lot of iPhone users don’t have an Apple Watch. Even though unlocking your phone with the Watch can be useful, anyone around you can also unlock your iPhone.

With this new iOS 15.4 feature, it will be possible to unlock your iPhone with the facial recognition feature focusing on your eye area to authenticate.

Face ID works better with glasses on iOS 15.4

Face ID

Alongside the ability to unlock your face with a mask, Apple is improving Face ID recognition while wearing glasses. The company explains:

“Using Face ID while wearing a mask works best when it’s set up to recognize each pair of glasses you wear regularly. Face ID with a mask doesn’t support sunglasses.”

If you remember when Apple announced the iPhone X, it disclaimed that some sunglasses wouldn’t work with Face ID depending on the lenses. Since setting up facial recognition with a mask requires the TrueDepth system to analyze only your eye area, it wouldn’t make sense if this part is covered with sunglasses. It appears regular glasses are still fine, even with a mask.

As the company is still working on iOS 15.4, it will take some time until you can take advantage of these features. In the meantime, you can read our tutorial on how to improve the iPhone’s facial recognition with a mask here.

What do you think of these changes? Are you excited to try them out? Let us know in the comment section below.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

José Adorno

Brazilian tech Journalist. Author at 9to5Mac. Previously at tv globo, the main TV broadcaster in Latin America.

Got tips, feedback, or questions? jose@9to5mac.com