Apple makes it easier for mask-wearers to unlock their iPhones

Apple has launched its iOS 13.5 beta update, which makes it easier for users wearing a mask to unlock their iPhones without FaceID.

CNBC reports that the new feature includes the option of entering a passcode directly to the main screen, rather than users having to wait until their iPhone tells them it can’t recognise their face.

When this new feature is implemented, users will be prompted to “Swipe up for Face ID or Enter Passcode.”

While users could simply disable their FaceID completely, this feature gives users the best of both worlds – they can enter the passcode quickly when wearing a mask, but can still use FaceID when they are not wearing one (such as if they are in their home).

Contact tracing

The new iOS beta also includes support for apps that action contact tracing.

This will provide notifications to users who opt-in if they are believed to have been exposed to someone who is infected with COVID-19.

Apple will not immediately be building an app with such functionality, however; it is simply making it possible for other app developers to do this on iOS.

Contact tracing is achieved by enabling apps to use Bluetooth to determine a user’s distance from another person’s smartphone.

If someone they have been in close contact with tests positive for COVID-19, they will then be notified by these third-party apps.

Partnership with Google

In a rare partnership, Apple and Google have worked together to add this contact tracing technology to their iOS and Android devices.

According to the companies, this support is only likely to be launched officially in mid-May, and both companies will also release frameworks for public health apps that manage the feature.

Long-term, both businesses plan to add the technology directly into their operating systems so that users will not need to download a third-party app to use it.

Now read: How Apple and Google’s coronavirus tracing will work

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Apple makes it easier for mask-wearers to unlock their iPhones