August 13, 2022
iOS 15.4 beta enables Face ID unlocking with a mask;  iPadOS 15.4 and macOS 12.3 Bring Universal Control


Apple has brought the first developer beta releases of iOS 15.4, iPadOS 15.4, and macOS Monterey 12.3. One of the biggest changes in the latest beta release of iOS 15.4 is the ability to unlock your iPhone using Face ID while wearing a mask. On the other hand, the beta releases of iPadOS 15.4 and macOS 12.3 include delayed Universal Controls to enhance the experience for users who have both iPad and Mac devices.

Apple has upgraded its proprietary facial recognition technology, along with the ability to unlock the iPhone with a mask using Face ID. This is one of the most requested features as people have been wearing face masks since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

Apple has in the past also attempted to solve the problem of people not being recognized via Face ID while wearing a mask. In 2020, it enabled a faster way to unlock using a passcode while wearing a mask on devices with Face ID support. The company last year also provided Face ID-equipped iPhone models with the ability to unlock using the Apple Watch while wearing a mask. However, both the updates were not liked by the users much.

The new beta release of iOS 15.4 reveals that the Cupertino giant is finally addressing user requests to enable them to unlock their iPhone using Face ID while wearing a mask.

Apple has trained new algorithms to recognize users based on their eye area while wearing a mask. It enables users to unlock their iPhone using Face ID – without putting on their mask or using options like a passcode or their Apple Watch.

Users get the option to set up using Face ID with a mask when they boot up their iPhone running iOS 15.4 for the first time. Alternatively, after booting with iOS 15.4 the feature can be enabled by toggling on an option called ‘Use Face ID with a mask’, which is available under Adjustment , Face ID and Passcode,

You are not required to wear a face mask during set up. This means that the experience of enrolling with a mask for Face ID is the same as you would typically enroll for facial recognition technology.

Apple has also designed the feature to work with the glasses. However, you are advised to enroll separately for your glasses when setting up Face ID with a mask. You can use up to four pairs of glasses with each enrolled appearance.

It’s important to note that although Face ID is available on the iPhone X and later models, the feature to use Face ID with a mask is limited to the iPhone 12 and newer versions of the iPhone. It is also not currently available for iPad users.

Apple claims that the accuracy and security of Face ID and masks are in line with existing facial recognition support. This means that the chances that a random person in the population could look at your iPhone and unlock it using Face ID with a mask on is about one in 1,000,000 with a named presence.

In addition to the Face ID update, the first developer beta of iOS 15.4 brings the ability to copy text from objects using the camera to the Notes and Reminders app. There are also new emoji such as heart hands, biting lips, pregnant person and pregnant person, hamsa, and many more.

Along with the beta release for iPhone users, Apple has brought the first developer beta release of iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3 with Universal Controls. The feature was announced last year at WWDC and was expected to be part of macOS Monterey when it was first released in October. However, Apple delayed the release by a few months.

apple universal control image apple universal control

Apple demonstrated Universal Control on macOS Monterey at the time of its announcement last year
photo credit: apple

With Universal Controls, a keyboard and mouse or trackpad can work seamlessly between your Mac and iPad. You can also connect to more than one Mac or iPad at once and move your cursor between them or type your words on your Mac or iPad. Furthermore, this feature allows users to drag and drop content from one Mac to another.

Universal Control uses Apple’s Continuity to establish a connection between your Mac and iPad. However, you need both devices to use a single Apple ID. The devices on which you want to use Universal Control must also be within a few meters of each other and have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Handoff turned on.

This specifically isn’t the first time Apple is enabling connections between Mac and iPad devices. The company did this in the past as well, bringing Sidecar as a feature allowing users to use their iPad as a secondary display or input device. However, Universal Control goes a step further and enables users to control both a Mac and an iPad using the same keyboard, mouse, or trackpad.

Apple hasn’t given an exact timeline on when the features will be available through a public release. In the meantime, you can experience them on a secondary device signing up For public beta releases of new software through the Apple Beta Program.


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