The beta version of iOS 14.5 was released by AppleAnd, it comes with the ability to have your Apple Watch unlock your Face ID-protected phone if you are wearing a mask. If you really want the feature at the moment, you’ll have to download the latest versions of iOS and watchOS betas – something that poses at least a little risk, as it’s incomplete software. There are bugs, and features may change between updates. There have been reports in the past Watch it being ruined by the beta (Although I haven’t found any for this version).
With all that being said, I’ve been using beta versions since they came out, and I haven’t noticed anything that is particularly buggy. So, if you are willing to tip caution to the wind to access the new Apple Watch unlock feature, here’s how to get the betas.
First, start by going to beta.apple.com On your iPhone. If you have never participated in a public beta before, you will have to click the Sign Up button, and if you have, you can click the Sign In button.
Once signed in, click on the down arrow in the header, and go to Register your devices. I highly recommend following Apple’s advice to make an archived backup of your device, as iCloud backups won’t necessarily be available if you have to go back from beta. Apple explains how to create an account on the registration page. Go ahead, I’ll be here when you come back.
After you have backed up your device, you can scroll down and click the Download Profile button, and your phone will inform you to review the profile before installing it.
Before we do that, let’s get the watch profile by scrolling up and choosing WatchOS from the list. There, you can click on the Download Profile button, then hit Allow.
This will automatically open the Watch app, where you can tap Install. This will restart your watch so while this is happening let’s install the phone profile by going to settings then the profile downloaded.
There, you can click on the install button, and your phone will restart.
After downloading the personal files and restarting your devices, you will have to update your phone, then your watch. Unfortunately, you have to wait for the phone to update before you can start the clock so you cannot multitask.
Once iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4 are officially launched, we can finally enable unlock using the watch feature.
Go to Settings> Face ID & Passcode, and scroll down to the option to Unlock with the new Apple Watch. Toggling it will turn the feature on, there’s nothing you need to do on the watch.
Now that you have it installed, here’s what you can expect. First, and most importantly, note that your phone is not searching for it Your Masked face looking for it a Face with a mask. With this feature turned on, if my wife was wearing a mask, I was able to unlock my phone without any problem if I was three feet or so.
Apple relieves this when when your Apple Watch is used to unlock your phone, it bothers you with a notification that your phone has been unlocked, along with a button to lock it. Pressing this lock button instantly locks your phone and requires a passcode for the next unlock.
With that caveat out of the way, it’s a hit so far with the feature. I’ve tried it with a variety of masks, and it works with all of them. It’s worth noting that, again, he’s still looking for a face with a mask. This feature won’t help you in the situation where your phone is at the table and you want to unlock it without Face ID camera being able to see you.
However, for me, not having to enter my passcode every time I want to check my grocery list while shopping is a huge benefit and is well worth what I consider to be relatively simple security trade-offs. This feature might not be intended for those who have highly classified information on their phones, but for everyone else, this feature would be a good quality-of-life improvement, whether you decide to do so now or wait for the official release.
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