Starting with the iPhone X, Apple has ditched Touch ID in favor of Face ID. And for a lot of people, that̵
Before you get too excited, this new feature is part of Apple’s latest beta. So it’s not out to the general public just yet, and there’s a possibility (although minor) that it never will. But in the latest iOS 14.5 beta, iOS can better handle wearing a mask if you also have an Apple Watch.
When the phone detects your mask during the Face ID process, it will contact you to connect your Apple Watch. If you are wearing one and the “Face ID & Passcode” setting is on, the Watch will ease the unlocking process, just like with Mac devices. You will receive a push on your watch to indicate that the process has worked. To keep everything safe, your watch must be nearby and unlocked. You can also quickly lock your iPhone from the Watch.
That’s a step better than Android’s Smart Lock process, which prevents your primary device from locking if one of your paired Smart Lock devices (almost anything Bluetooth) is nearby. In this case, since you need it nearby and unlocked and Face ID is part of the process, someone is less likely to pick up your phone and step into it.
Again, this is only in beta and may not work reliably yet. Only Apple knows if and when it will reach the general public. But if so and our mask-wearing days continue (which it probably will), then now more than ever you should buy an Apple Watch to match your iPhone. Unless you’re still on an old device with Touch ID, they don’t care about masks.