(Pocket-lint) – Although Apple just released iOS 15.3, it’s already moving forward with iOS 15.4, by releasing a beta for developers.

The software update is not yet officially available to the public; it’s only available for developers to test. But it does introduce a particularly exciting new feature: The ability to unlock your iPhone via Face ID while wearing a mask – no Apple Watch required. Apple said that, with the iOS 15.4 beta, the iPhone can now recognise “the unique features around the eye to authenticate”, but it noted Face ID is still most accurate when it’s set up for full-face recognition.

The feature will also work if you’re wearing glasses, but not sunglasses.

Keep in mind Apple has long allowed iPhone users to unlock their device via Face ID – so long as they owned and used an Apple Watch as a key.

With the new iOS 15.4 developer beta, however, Apple is hoping to ditch that clunky requirement. But you’ll still need to switch on the option. In the Face ID and Passcode section of the Settings app on your iPhone, simply select the “Use Face ID with a mask option” to get started. It’s that quick and easy. 

It’s important to note that the public won’t get to use the Face ID while wearing a mask feature until iOS 15.4 releases, and even then, Apple could pull it from the official release due to bugs. Still, the fact that developers are able to start testing it now is a good sign that it’s coming sooner rather than later. 

Writing by Maggie Tillman.





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