2021-03-04

iOS 14.5 Beta 1 Allows Your Apple Watch to Unlock Your iPhone if You’re Wearing a Mask

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Juli Clover, MacRumors:

In iOS 14.5, there’s a new option to unlock an iPhone with Face ID
and an Apple Watch paired together, with the Apple Watch’s
authentication providing an extra layer of security.

If you’re wearing an unlocked Apple Watch and use Face ID as you
normally would, the iPhone will unlock after a partial face scan.
When the unlock happens, you’ll feel a haptic buzz and will
receive a notification on the Apple Watch informing you that the
unlocking procedure was successful, similar to how it works when
unlocking a Mac with an Apple Watch.

Sincere, non-sarcastic finally for this one. I jumped on this beta to try this feature out, and it works great. Pretty much just like the excellent longstanding feature that lets you log into your Mac automatically if you’re wearing an Apple Watch — it just works. I don’t know how much longer we’ll be wearing face masks when we go out, but this pretty much guarantees I’ll be wearing my Apple Watch every day.

My understanding is that this feature was a lot trickier to implement than you might think, because of the fact that you can also use your iPhone to unlock your watch. The “chain of trust” was originally designed to work in one direction — from your iPhone to your watch.