How to unlock iPhone with Apple Watch while wearing a mask

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to millions of iPhone users adopting masks but discovering that they can no longer unlock their iPhone using Face ID. Of course, all you have to do is tap the option to enter the passcode or quickly pull down the muzzle, but Apple has come up with a better solution for Apple Watch owners.

At the end of April 2021, Apple released a new iPhone feature that allows Apple Watch users to instantly unlock their iPhone without the need for Face ID.

Here’s how to do it.

How to unlock iPhone with Apple Watch while wearing a mask - iOS iPadOS

What do you need?

To be clear, you’ll need an iPhone that uses Face ID technology. This includes the iPhone X series and all later versions, except for the iPhone SE (2nd generation). You should also make sure that your iPhone is running iOS 14.5 or later.

Since this feature only works in conjunction with your Apple Watch, you’ll also need an Apple Watch Series 3 or later, running watchOS 7.4 or later.

The use of this feature also requires that the following requirements be met:

  • Your Apple Watch must be paired with your iPhone.
  • iPhone and Apple Watch should turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. (You don’t need a Wi-Fi connection.)
  • Your Apple Watch must have a passcode and wrist detection must be turned on.
  • Your Apple Watch should be on your wrist and unlocked.
  • You must wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose.

How do you set up the unlock feature with your Apple Watch?

You can enable this feature from the Settings app on your iPhone:

  • Go to Settings and tap on Face ID & Passcode.
  • Enter your iPhone passcode.
  • Scroll down to an option Unlock with Apple Watch. Then turn on the feature next to your watch name. If the wrist detection feature is not enabled on your watch, you will be prompted to turn it on. If the option is greyed out, you may not have updated to iOS 14.5, watchOS 7.5, or later.
How to unlock iPhone with Apple Watch while wearing a mask - iOS iPadOS

How do you unlock an iPhone with an Apple Watch?

Make sure that your Apple Watch has a passcode set up and that wrist detection is turned on as indicated.

Once you have your watch on your wrist and a mask on your face, pair your phone and Apple Watch, ensuring that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are turned on for both devices.

To unlock, you will have to follow the routine process that you normally do. Turn on your iPhone and look at it so that your iPhone unlocks instantly. You’ll then feel a vibration on your wrist with an alert on your Apple Watch that your phone is now unlocked.

If you accidentally turn on your iPhone, tap Lock iPhone in the new alert on your Apple Watch screen. You’ll be asked to enter your password the next time you unlock your Apple Watch.

You will also be asked to enter your passcode on your iPhone the first time you put your watch on to use the feature. You must enter the passcode each time you remove and put on your Apple Watch.

Is this feature only for unlocking an iPhone?

Apart from unlocking the screen, you can also use Face ID to perform many other functions on your iPhone. This includes downloading apps, signing in to accounts, and using Apple Pay.

Unfortunately, using Face ID with the Apple Watch and the muzzle will not work with any of these other features. You can only use it to unlock your iPhone.

Apple’s new unlock feature

Apple has taken a great step to ensure that your tech life is more convenient for you if you own an Apple Watch. There are many ways your Apple Watch can help you fight COVID, and this is one of them, as you don’t need to remove the muzzle to unlock your iPhone in public places anymore. Check out how to use the hand washing timer on your Apple Watch.

Interestingly, this feature has also proven useful for motorcyclists, especially delivery agents, who can now unlock their iPhones while wearing their helmets. Make good use of your Apple Watch and use this feature right away. Now you can check out the best Apple Watch add-ons that are worth using.

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