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    iPhone: With iOS 15.4, unlock your device using Face ID without taking mask off

    iPhone: With iOS 15.4, unlock your device using Face ID without taking mask off

    iPhone: With iOS 15.4, unlock your device using Face ID without taking mask off
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    By CNBCTV18.com  IST (Updated)

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    The new feature will be enabled in iOS 15.4, which is currently in developer beta. Apple has also released developer betas for the next updates to the current iPadOS and macOS versions.

    Soon, when Apple releases iOS 15.4, iPhone users will be able to unlock their devices while wearing a mask. The new update will come with a new toggle, Use Face ID with Mask. This quality-of-life update will immediately address the biggest complaint of iPhone users ever since the pandemic struck--the ability to easily and seamlessly unlock their device while wearing a mask outdoors.

    In 2017, iPhone users witnessed a paradigm shift in how their phones employed biometric authentication: from the industry leading fingerprint sensor, dubbed 'Touch ID', to a new facial recognition system that Apple called Face ID, purportedly the most secure on a smartphone--before or since.

     Then the pandemic struck.

    People started wearing masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus and suddenly, their iPhones refused to unlock unless the users went through the "cumbersome" process entering the six-digit passcode. Apple to its credit did release a couple of fixes. The first, through iOS 13.5, ensured that an iPhone, on detecting a mask, would immediately default to the passcode. Later, in 2021, Apple released an update that allowed users unlock their iPhones while wearing an Apple Watch.


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    Both these solutions did not quite hit the mark for obvious reasons--the main one being that not everyone had an Apple Watch. Most people still had to enter the passcode, which was seen as an extra, unnecessary step to unlock the phone.

    And so began the demands for Apple to either being back Touch ID, or release a phone with both Touch ID and Face ID. It was not an unreasonable demand given that Apple has incorporated Touch ID into the power buttons of the latest generation iPad Air and iPad Mini, so the precedent was there.

    Apple on Friday seeded the developer betas of iOS 15.4, iPadOS 15.4, and macOS Monterey 12.3. The highlights of iPadOS 15.4 and macOS 12.3 include the delayed 'Universal Control' to enhance the experience for users who own both iPad and Mac devices--in a single gesture, users will be able to move files and workflow seamlessly between an iPad and a Mac on the same network.



    According to apple, if the toggle to unlock the phone with the mask is turned on in iOS 15.4, the TrueDepth array will authenticate a user's identity via 'unique features" around the eyes. The feature has also been designed to work with glasses. Apple does suggest that keeping the toggle turned off will ensure a more secure Face ID experience. 

    Users can enable the "Face ID with a mask" feature when they boot their iPhone running iOS 15.4 for the first time. Separately, the feature can also be set up by using the option--‘Use Face ID With a Mask'--available under Settings > Face ID & Passcode. This new feature will work on iPhone X and later.

    Meanwhile, Apple has claimed that the feature doesn't compromise security and privacy as the probability of a random person looking at your iPhone and unlocking it using Face ID with a mask is approximately one in 1,000,000.

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