Apple releases watchOS 7.4 with Face ID unlock assistance

Posted:
in Apple Watch
Apple has issued an update for watchOS 7.4, one which adds support for a Face ID feature in iOS 14.5 to unlock an iPhone when the user wears a face mask.




The update can be installed automatically to the Apple Watch, or can be triggered to download manually. A manual download can be forced by opening the Apple Watch app on their iPhone, selecting My Watch then General followed by Software Update, then select Install.

Once downloaded to the iPhone, the Apple Watch has to be placed on a charger and have sufficient charge to allow the update to install.

The update can also be installed from the Apple Watch itself, by accessing the Settings app and selecting General, then Software Update, then Install. Again, users have to place the Apple Watch on charge for it to install.

Helping Face ID dealing with face masks

The main addition to watchOS in version 7.4 is the addition of support for a Face ID feature on an iPhone running iOS 14.5. Apple introduced a mechanism that will use the presence of an Apple Watch as a confirmation of the user's identity in cases where a face mask interferes with Face ID.






A new option in the iPhone Settings app's Face ID & Passcode menu will offer to "Unlock with Apple Watch," which has to be enabled for the feature to work. When triggered, the Apple Watch will display a notice stating it is unlocking the iPhone, and present a button to re-lock the iPhone if required.

Earlier update

Apple's last update to watchOS was on February 15, with watchOS 7.3.1 fixing a charging issue in some Apple Watch models. The watchOS 7.3 update from January 26 added the Unity watch face, Time to Walk for Apple Fitness+, an update to the ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notifications, and a Control Center fix.


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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 2,015member
    Hopefully they will add in touchid under the display before the next pandemic.
  • Reply 2 of 11
    peterhartpeterhart Posts: 122member
    After updating to iOS 14.5, is anyone else receiving an “Unable to Check for Update” error message when attempting to update your Apple Watch? The popup says “An error occurred while checking for a software update,” with options to Cancel or Try Again. Pressing Try Again only repeats the error pattern. 
    anguslois
  • Reply 3 of 11
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,498member
    peterhart said:
    After updating to iOS 14.5, is anyone else receiving an “Unable to Check for Update” error message when attempting to update your Apple Watch? The popup says “An error occurred while checking for a software update,” with options to Cancel or Try Again. Pressing Try Again only repeats the error pattern. 
    Yes I got that. I just kept trying every few minutes and eventually it let me in. 
    peterhart
  • Reply 4 of 11
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 2,939member
    Unfortunately, I have to wipe my Series 3 watch because it doesn't have enough memory to update - even with everything possible uninstalled. :/
    buttesilverchemengin1
  • Reply 5 of 11
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 742member
    What a smooth feature. You do not even need to press anything on the Apple Watch for it to unlock, it just automatically does it. So smooth and so Apple like. Now come up with a feature to defog my glasses and we'll be set! haha
  • Reply 6 of 11
    MplsP said:
    Unfortunately, I have to wipe my Series 3 watch because it doesn't have enough memory to update - even with everything possible uninstalled. :/
    Yup.  My Watch 6 is fine, but wife's 3 is stripped bare and not enough space.  Really lame.  Time to wipe which means a half day wasted...
  • Reply 7 of 11
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,531member
    JinTech said:
    What a smooth feature. You do not even need to press anything on the Apple Watch for it to unlock, it just automatically does it. So smooth and so Apple like. Now come up with a feature to defog my glasses and we'll be set! haha
    Yes indeed, Apple absolutely killed it with this feature. This immediately added more value to owning an Apple Watch, at least for FaceTime users. 
    edited April 27
  • Reply 8 of 11
    dcgoodcgoo Posts: 235member
    peterhart said:
    After updating to iOS 14.5, is anyone else receiving an “Unable to Check for Update” error message when attempting to update your Apple Watch? The popup says “An error occurred while checking for a software update,” with options to Cancel or Try Again. Pressing Try Again only repeats the error pattern. 
    You must update your iPhone first, and the update must complete. 
  • Reply 9 of 11
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 2,939member
    MplsP said:
    Unfortunately, I have to wipe my Series 3 watch because it doesn't have enough memory to update - even with everything possible uninstalled. :/
    Yup.  My Watch 6 is fine, but wife's 3 is stripped bare and not enough space.  Really lame.  Time to wipe which means a half day wasted...
    I started after dinner last night and it finally finished around 11:00 but now it works perfectly! The mask unlock feature is awesome!

  • Reply 10 of 11
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 706member
    Just a word of warning - anybody wearing a mask can unlock your phone if you have the feature turned on.

    Your watch will give you some pretty heavy haptics to let you know…
  • Reply 11 of 11
    Hank2.0Hank2.0 Posts: 106member
    mknelson said:
    Just a word of warning - anybody wearing a mask can unlock your phone if you have the feature turned on.
    Huh? Can you please explain what you mean? I believe to unlock YOUR iPhone you have to be wearing YOUR Apple Watch which is paired to YOUR iPhone.
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