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Face ID with mask: Apple tests new algorithm in iOS 15.4 beta

Dominik Bärlocher
Zurich, on 28.01.2022

The beta version of Apple's iOS 15.4 allows Face Unlock with mask. But that's not the only innovation that will soon be coming to your iPhone.

iOS 15.4 beta brings Face Unlock with Mask and lets you type with one keyboard on two devices. The pre-release version of the operating system for iPhones and iPads - simply called iPadOS there - is available starting today if you have an Apple developer account.

Face Unlock with Mask

When you boot up your iPhone after the update, you'll see the "Hello" screen. Just as if the iPhone was brand new. Don't let this scare you, your data is all still there. After that, the iPhone will ask you if you want to use Face ID with the mask. If you enable the option, your Apple device will no longer analyze your entire face, but only the part around your eyes.

Apple warns that Face ID is most secure when it can see your entire face - when the option is not in use. With the continued mask requirement, the company is compromising on security.

Previously, Apple only offered the mask feature with two-factor authentication. With an Apple Watch, it is still possible to unlock the iPhone. The Watch and phone have to be paired for this. Bluetooth and WLAN also have to be activated.

Universal Control

A feature that Apple has hinted at several times is finally here. Universal Control lets you control your iPad and Mac with the same keyboard and mouse or trackpad.

But you need not only iPadOS 15.4 Beta, but also macOS Monterey 12.3.

Other new features

Here's what the beta also offers:

  • If you have AirPods in your ears and someone calls you, the ringtone will play in normal Bluetooth quality. The sound quality is adjusted to the available data throughput of the mobile connection only after the call is accepted.
  • 30 new emoji. Among them are a melting smiley and kidney beans.
  • Passwords in the iCloud Keychain can now be tagged with a note.
  • Your Covid vaccination status can be stored in your Wallet and Apple Health app.
  • The charging status of AirPods is more clearly displayed.
  • SharePlay is included in the Share dialog if the app supports SharePlay.
  • The brightness of the keyboard can be adjusted.
  • The Notes app gets new gestures. Depending on the gesture, you can capture a Quick Note, take a screenshot, or turn off the app.

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