What to know about Face ID with a mask, including how to set it up and which phones are compatible.

What To Know About Face ID With A Mask, Including Why You Might Not Have It

It might be time for an upgrade.

Originally Published: 
Drazen_/E+/Getty Images

The days of trying (and failing) to unlock your iPhone with Face ID while wearing a mask are over, thanks to a new feature on iOS 15.4. Apple’s newest hack lets you update your Face ID to recognize your face with a mask on. While a very welcome update, Apple’s Face ID with a mask in iOS 15.4 won’t be a reality for every iPhone user with Face ID-enabled device — but if you do have it, you’ll want to know how to get started. Here’s everything you need to know about using Face ID with a mask, including how to set it up and what phone you’ll need to make it happen.

When Apple announced iOS 15.4 beta in January 2022, the new mask-friendly Face ID feature made major headlines, and considering iPhone users have been struggling to unlock their phones with a face covering for nearly two years, it’s no surprise why. The iOS 15.4 update finally launched on March 14, and new Face ID with a mask works with glasses, to complete transactions with Apple Pay, and will help you autofill passwords. According to the Apple Support page, the mask-forward feature analyzes the “unique characteristics” around your eyes, which means you don’t even have to wear a mask as you set it up. The future is here, y’all.

Though many people were thrilled with the update, others were disappointed to see they had been denied the new feature due to the fact that it’s only available on select Face ID-compatible iPhones. If you’re looking for tips on how set up the new mask-friendly Face ID, here’s how it works.

How To Set Up Face ID With Mask

Before you can set up the new feature, you’ll have to update your iPhone to iOS 15.4 first. To do so:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Select “Software Update.”
  4. Enter your Passcode.

After your phone has finished updating, your new and improved Face ID is ready to be set up, and it couldn’t be easier. You can simply follow the prompts and set it up right away, or if you want to do it later, here’s how to access it:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Face ID & Passcode.
  3. Turn on the option that says, “Face ID With a Mask.”

From there, follow the instructions on the screen to allow the phone to scan your face. You won’t have to wear a mask while it scans, so it’s a very similar process to setting up OG Face ID.

Phone Requirements For Face ID With Mask

If you updated your phone but didn’t see the option add a mask, you could be dealing with a problem that even turning it off and on again won’t fix. Though Face ID has been around since the iPhone X, the new Face ID with mask on only works with an iPhone 12 or later. Trust me — as the proud owner of an iPhone 11, it’s a huge bummer. Time to get a new phone, I guess.

How To Set Up Face ID With Glasses

If you wear glasses, you should probably set up Face ID with glasses to make unlocking your phone with a mask that much easier. To set it up, all you have to do is:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Face ID & Passcode.
  3. Tap “Add Glasses” under “Face ID With a Mask.”

This time around, you’ll have to wear your glasses as the phone scans your face. To add another pair, repeat steps 1 through 3. And sadly, the feature doesn’t work with sunglasses — no matter how cool they make you look.

Even if you can’t set up Face ID for a mask with your older iPhone model, the new update is definitely still worth checking out if you’re a fan of emojis (and who isn’t?). iOS 15.4’s latest lineup of emojis includes a melting face, a hand heart, a disco ball, and so much more. Hey, it’s better than nothing.

This article was originally published on