iOS 13.5 Beta Will Automatically Skip Face ID and Open Passcode Screen If User Is Wearing a Mask

BY Mahit Huilgol

Published 29 Apr 2020

iOS 13 Face ID

Apple has released iOS 13.5 Beta today. The iOS 13.5 beta arrived with the first version of exposure notification API used for COVID-19 contact tracing. Apple has altered the Face ID feature in the new beta. This will make it easier for people to skip Face ID while wearing masks and instead choose to enter the passcode.

Public health authorities mandate using a mask to curtail the spread of COVID-19. However, it is not possible to authenticate Face ID whilst using a mask. Apple has redesigned Face ID in such a manner that it will directly skip to Passcode when it detects users are wearing face masks. When the mask is off, the Face ID will work as usual. If you swipe up with a face mask on then you will be redirected to the passcode screen.

Recently we had seen a ‘life hack’ that teaches iPhone users to authenticate via Face ID even when the mask is on. As expected the workaround is not that effective and Apple’s tweak on the new iOS 13.5 beta seems like a much better option. It is good to see Apple baking in new features that help users adapt better to the current crisis.

A quick primer, Apple, and Google’s exposure notification API works on the same line as any contact tracing app. Whenever the device is in proximity to other devices, information is exchanged via Bluetooth. Needless to say, the identity will be masked with the help of encryption. If a person is diagnosed COVID-19 positive then the app will provide a list of everybody who has been in contact with the diagnosed person. If you have privacy concerns then you can always choose to opt-out of the Exposure Notifications feature. The exposure notification API is expected to help public health authorities globally to contain COVID-19 spread.

Did you discover any other major changes or new features on iOS 13.5 beta 3? Let us know in the comments below.