What the New iOS Features Mean for You and Your Privacy

And then Apple did eventually release a feature with iOS 14 that allowed you to unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch, but not everybody has an Apple Watch, and I don’t think people should have gone out to buy the Apple Watch just to be able to unlock their iPhone with a mask.

But with iOS 15, this feature utilizes the area around your eyes to authenticate face ID. So the setup is simple. You toggle it on in your settings. You scan your face the way you normally do for face ID and you don’t need to wear a mask while doing it. And then you can also add glasses if you wear them, but again, since it requires the eye area is visible, it won’t work with sunglasses, which is important to note. So it has to be able to see your eyes.

And then the other thing I’ve been using it with the beta, and I’d say it works pretty well, but you just have to remember to look directly into the camera in order for it to successfully work. But yeah, it’s a pretty nice feature to have once you get used to just looking directly at the camera, otherwise it won’t be able to work as well.

MC: Can we talk about the great irony that this feature is being released just as mask mandates in many parts of the country are starting to lift?

BS: Yes, it’s frustrating because we all knew this feature was possible two years ago at the start of the pandemic, and the timing is hilarious because people aren’t going to probably use it as much. I’m in New York, so I will continue to wear my mask. But yeah, I think now it’s like, thanks Apple but no thanks.

LG: Yeah. I’m pretty much just accustomed to using the passcode again, the PIN code. Every time I go to use face ID, I’m like, yeah, I’m just going to punch it in, punch in the numbers, basically not using face ID in any capacity these days.

MC: I think the pandemic was really a big roadblock for face ID because I went through this problem. I’m a Pixel user. I went through this problem where I switched to the Pixel 4 just as the pandemic was starting, and then it has the facial unlock feature on it, and I was wearing a mask and it never worked and I would always have to pull down my mask or just use the PIN to unlock the phone. And then very recently, I switched to the latest Pixel, which ditches the Google face unlock in favor of an on-screen fingerprint reader.

LG: The fingerprint. Oh, that frustrating in-display fingerprint sensor.

MC: It actually works fine.

LG: Oh, OK.

MC: It works nine times out of 10.

LG: Wow. I think you’re the one person it works for.

MC: Well, it doesn’t work when my fingers are sweaty, but basically I was more than happy to get rid of face unlock just because of the mask thing. And now that I also live in a big city, also going to continue wearing my mask, although I am wearing a mask less particularly when I’m outdoors, I still prefer the fingerprint sensor to the face unlock.

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