Apple made a significant, and somewhat belated, feature update in the latest Apple Watch WatchOS 7.4 update.
It supports iOS 14.5’s ‘Mask Face ID’ feature to allow you to open your face even when you’re wearing a mask.
This, as you may have guessed, does not reduce the face recognition algorithm to fully trust the geometry of your eyes. Instead, it looks for the presence of a face with a mask and the proximity of the pair Apple Watch.
It may be a Face ID, but the key security feature here is an approved Apple Watch. Any face will do as long as the mask is worn – because Face ID can use regular facial recognition if the mask is not in place.
This is very similar to the “trusted devices” feature in Android, which can refer to any Bluetooth accessory as a kind of wireless pass. If they are attached, you do not need to insert your pin or use face opening. Of course, in terms of security it is very low.
Apple’s system is very restricted so that it does not affect the security of your phone much.
If you want to effectively take the slightest security win for the seamless Face ID experience, mask or not, here’s how to set up the feature.
Go on Settings On your iPhone, then Face ID and passcode section. Run Open with Apple Watch Feature. At the time of writing, both your Apple Watch and iPhone need to be updated to the latest software, WatchOS 7.4 and iOS 14.5.
WatchOS 7.4 also opens the ECG feature for users in Australia and Vietnam, which is now recognized by health systems in those countries.