Face ID works while wearing a mask in the iOS 15.4 beta

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 28
The iOS 15.4 developer beta has introduced a version of Face ID that unlocks the user's iPhone while wearing a mask, though it is less secure.

The iOS 15.4 beta adds Face ID with a mask
The iOS 15.4 beta adds Face ID with a mask


A new onboarding screen in the iOS 15.4 beta prompts users to choose between two versions of Face ID. One is the standard Face ID, and the other is one that works while the user is wearing a mask.

If users choose to set up Face ID to work with a mask, Apple warns that it is less secure. This is because Face ID will only authenticate the user using facial features of the area surrounding the eyes. Regular Face ID uses the entire face and requires the eyes, nose, and mouth to be visible to work.





The new prompt reads as follows:
"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 area to authenticate."
By reducing the number of features being scanned, the security for face unlock is inherently lesser. However, Apple hasn't described how much less secure this method is.

For example, normal Face ID has a false positive rate of about 1 in 1 million. Touch ID has a false positive rate of about 1 in 50,000.

Set up Face ID to work with different pairs of glasses
Set up Face ID to work with different pairs of glasses


The new Face ID feature also takes into account users who wear glasses. The setup processes for Face ID with a mask will prompt the user to add pairs of glasses to the system for better recognition. However, it does warn that Face ID with mask unlock doesn't work with sunglasses.

Apple previously introduced a system for Apple Watch owners that bypasses Face ID when wearing a mask. Of course, this only works if the user has an Apple Watch, limiting its potential use.

This new system is in beta and it may change by the time it is available to the public. Apple will likely provide in-depth security documentation surrounding the Face ID mask unlock in the near future.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    I wish the Apple Watch Face ID bypass worked with mirrored sunglasses instead of just masks...
    williamlondon
  • Reply 2 of 9
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,589member
    I wish the Apple Watch Face ID bypass worked with mirrored sunglasses instead of just masks...
    You mean you want it to recognise your face when none of your face is visible? Good luck with that.
    JinTechronnBeats
  • Reply 3 of 9
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,965member
    I wish the Apple Watch Face ID bypass worked with mirrored sunglasses instead of just masks...

    It does now. I think since 15.0.
    I've noticed that if I have my Watch on, it will unlock even if I wear a particular pair of sunglasses that normally won't work.
  • Reply 4 of 9
    Not seeing the option on my iPhone X, nor my iPP 4thG.

    Dies it require any minimum hw,or specific steps to enable this? I tried resetting FaceID, but to no avail.

    Edit: Darn, just saw this: https://9to5mac.com/2022/01/27/psa-ios-15-4s-new-use-face-id-with-a-mask-option-limited-to-iphone-12-and-newer/
    edited January 27
  • Reply 5 of 9
    It depends on mask. If I wear ski mask then you can only say it is retina scan and not face ID. Honestly, I do not like anything hanging from my ears (including garbage like earpods) and I wear mask that covers my ears and almost all face. Nobody knows if I wear beard or have uneven face, or scars and nobody will unless I take it off. Trust me. Passport services needed my photos twice and they could not even scan it even without mask. So do not tell me that you can face ID with any types of masks. On top of that fingerprint works only for young people reliably. Older people have dry hands and dry fingertips. No scanner including federal ID can scan those as if there was no fingerprints. One has to use wetting solution to bring hands to condition of young sweating person. I mentioned this many times over years, but was ignored as if those devices were designed only for young people and the rest of population was ignored.
  • Reply 6 of 9
    mike1 said:
    I wish the Apple Watch Face ID bypass worked with mirrored sunglasses instead of just masks...

    It does now. I think since 15.0.
    I've noticed that if I have my Watch on, it will unlock even if I wear a particular pair of sunglasses that normally won't work.
    Yes, that was the benefit/weakness of the mask detect using the watch - it will unlock for any face if your watch is unlocked and in range.

    This actually bumps up security a bit.

    *re-reading that - I think they need a third option - partial face scan AND your watch is unlocked and in range.
    edited January 27
  • Reply 7 of 9
    hentaiboyhentaiboy Posts: 1,249member
    Not seeing the option on my iPhone X, nor my iPP 4thG.

    Dies it require any minimum hw,or specific steps to enable this? I tried resetting FaceID, but to no avail.

    Edit: Darn, just saw this: https://9to5mac.com/2022/01/27/psa-ios-15-4s-new-use-face-id-with-a-mask-option-limited-to-iphone-12-and-newer/
    Apparently, this is a more resource-intense process than a traditional Face ID scan, so Apple is limiting it to newer-model iPhones and iPads.”

    Of course they are. Screw you Apple. 
  • Reply 8 of 9
    hentaiboy said:
    Not seeing the option on my iPhone X, nor my iPP 4thG.

    Dies it require any minimum hw,or specific steps to enable this? I tried resetting FaceID, but to no avail.

    Edit: Darn, just saw this: https://9to5mac.com/2022/01/27/psa-ios-15-4s-new-use-face-id-with-a-mask-option-limited-to-iphone-12-and-newer/
    “Apparently, this is a more resource-intense process than a traditional Face ID scan, so Apple is limiting it to newer-model iPhones and iPads.”

    Of course they are. Screw you Apple. 
    My initial thought exactly. I was surprised, that apparently even iPhone 11 does not support such a feature.

    Maybe they will add this over time? Hope springs eternal.
  • Reply 9 of 9
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,965member
    mknelson said:
    mike1 said:
    I wish the Apple Watch Face ID bypass worked with mirrored sunglasses instead of just masks...

    It does now. I think since 15.0.
    I've noticed that if I have my Watch on, it will unlock even if I wear a particular pair of sunglasses that normally won't work.
    Yes, that was the benefit/weakness of the mask detect using the watch - it will unlock for any face if your watch is unlocked and in range.

    This actually bumps up security a bit.

    *re-reading that - I think they need a third option - partial face scan AND your watch is unlocked and in range.

    I guess the thought is if your Watch is enabled and on, you don't need to worry about your phone all the time. Mask or no mask.
    In range is actually a pretty short distance for this functionality. Sometimes if my arm is hanging straight down next to my body, the phone asks me to move the watch closer. So I'm not really worried if I leave my phone on my desk and walk away for a minute.
Sign In or Register to comment.