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Apple's iOS 13.5 Update For Face ID Makes Unlocking Easier When You're Wearing A Mask

Apple's latest iOS update for dropped on Wednesday, May 20, and it includes a few key improvements. One of the features includes a fix for Face ID, for when you're wearing a face covering. Here's what to know about Apple's iOS 13.5 update for Face ID, because it makes unlocking your phone easier when you're wearing a mask.

According to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of May 7, it's recommended you wear a face covering over your nose and mouth when out in public to help prevent the potential spread of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Following this rule could cause an issue when you go to unlock your iPhone using Face ID on your iPhone X or later, which utilizes facial recognition technology. Rather than take down your face mask so your entire face is showing, it's easier to just type in your six-digit passcode. The problem is, before the update, it was taking a long time for your iPhone to give you that option.

With the iOS 13.5 update to Face ID, things are a bit easier. According to Apple's iOS updates page, the latest software update "speeds up access to the passcode field on devices with Face ID when you are wearing a face mask." So no, the technology hasn't been advanced to recognize you in a face mask, but it will make things run more smoothly.

The way it works is that when you're wearing a mask and then go to use Face ID to open your phone, your phone will recognize you have a mask on. So rather than giving you a notification that it can't recognize you with Face ID, it'll take you directly to a passcode screen, where you can type in your six-digit code to open your phone. The feature was previously tested in a beta program in late April.

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Before the update, users who were trying to unlock their iPhones with Face ID while wearing masks were getting frustrated, to say the least:

iOS 13.5 also introduces Exposure Notification API, which "supports COVID-19 contact tracing apps from public health authorities." The Exposure Notification feature — a collaboration between Google and Apple — will work with an app you can install from a public health authority. Then, your smartphone will use a random Bluetooth identifier for you — and whoever else has opted in for the feature — which will help alert you if you've come into contact with someone who's tested positive for COVID-19. The feature is optional and you can read Apple and Google's privacy policy on contact tracing if you're concerned about opting in to share this tracing data.

The final notable feature in the iOS 13.5 update is the option to disable "automatic prominence on Group FaceTime calls." This means you can keep the face tiles the same size when a person speaks, instead of keeping the automatic face zooming feature that happens in your group calls.

To update your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Software Update. Once you're running iOS 13.5, you can check out all the latest features.

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all Elite Daily's coverage of coronavirus here.