Using Face ID while wearing a mask with iOS 15.4 also works with Apple Pay

Apple has an incoming update to iOS, with iOS 15.4, and it adds a few noteworthy elements to the mobile operating system. Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest changes is the ability to use Face ID to unlock an iPhone while wearing a mask, without requiring the additional use of an Apple Watch. And now there’s even better news.

Just to start with, being able to unlock an iPhone while wearing a mask is a big deal, especially considering how important mask wearing remains with the ongoing pandemic. It took Apple a bit longer than some would have wanted, but, better late than never. And now, with this feature, Apple is making it possible for folks without an Apple Watch to get the same benefit.

Apparently there was some question hanging in the air whether or not the feature would work beyond simply unlocking the iPhone, but that’s been answered at this point. With iOS 15.4, folks will be able to authenticate Apple Pay purchases using Face ID while wearing a mask. So they won’t have to remove it when they want to buy something.

What’s more, it also means that users will be able to utilize apps that have Face ID features baked in as well.

The reason this was questionable is because with the ability to use Face ID while wearing a mask and the Apple Watch doesn’t support authenticating purchases with Apple Pay and/or in-app elements that use the biometric security measure. Unlock with Apple Watch is handy, and it was a good first step in the process of trying to figure out how to use a facial recognition biometric security feature in a time when mask wearing is so important, but it’s not the best implementation.

To that end, while Apple says that Face ID while wearing a mask is still a secure method, it’s not as secure as using the standard Face ID feature — the one that doesn’t work with a mask. The system is simply more accurate when it can register a user’s entire face, rather than simply the unique elements around the eyes.

Resource: How to unlock iPhone with your Apple Watch

While we don’t know when, exactly, Apple is going to launch the incoming update, it stands to reason it will arrive sometime in the spring. So, we have some time to wait. But at least we know the features coming along for the ride are (probably) worth the wait.