iOS 13.5 makes it easier to skip Face ID when you’re wearing a mask

Face ID is designed to be a secure biometric security measure, but sometimes it can be frustrating in certain circumstances. Like with the ongoing health crisis where mask wearing is paramount to helping stem the spread of the coronavirus.

As you are probably well aware by now, some accessories –including sunglasses– can make Face ID do what it’s supposed to do: block you from accessing the phone in question if it doesn’t recognize you. That is certainly the case when wearing a mask that covers the majority of the device owner’s face. But it turns out that Apple is making it a bit easier to bypass Face ID if you are wearing a mask.

With the third beta of iOS 13.5 (bumped up from iOS 13.4.5), Apple is making a change to Face ID so that the biometric security measure can recognize when the user is wearing a mask. When it does, the device will quickly bring up the passcode screen so that you can enter your PIN and access your phone. It means you won’t have to keep tapping or swiping to get the passcode screen to come up, and it should make the process a lot smoother moving forward.

Related: Face ID and specialty crafted masks

Twitter user Robert Petersen (@Sonikku_a2) was the first to discover the new change in iOS 13.5, as noted in the tweet today:

And developer Guilherme Rambo was able to screen record the process as well:

This is essentially speeding up the process, making the passcode input option pop up faster once the software recognizes the person is wearing a mask. It doesn’t bypass all of the security measures entirely, which is good. It just streamlines and speeds it all up to make it a little less annoying. Immediately popping up the passcode option when the phone recognizes a mask reduces the friction a bit.

Wearing a mask is not new, and it’s been a point of contention for facial recognition as a biometric security measure in certain regions across the globe, so it’s good to see that Apple is tackling the issue now. It certainly makes sense now during the global coronavirus pandemic.

Apple is currently beta seeding iOS 13.5 to developers. The bump in the software version number is related to the company laying the groundwork for its “exposure notification” API/system that it is developing along with Google to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. There is currently no word on when iOS 13.5 will launch to the public, but it will hopefully be soon.

What do you think of this change?