Skip to main content

Apple’s new betas let you try its Watch-based solution for masked iPhone unlocks

Apple’s new betas let you try its Watch-based solution for masked iPhone unlocks


The iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4 public betas are available now

Share this story

5G is great if you can find it.
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

With the upcoming release of iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4, Apple will let you use your Apple Watch to authenticate and unlock your iPhone while you’re wearing a mask. But if you want to try the feature now, you can, as Apple has released public betas for both iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4.

Before these releases, people using iPhones with Face ID while wearing a mask could only unlock their phone by entering in their passcode manually, which can quickly become a hassle. But with the new updates installed, if your Apple Watch is unlocked (which it most likely is if it’s sitting on your wrist) and as long as it’s nearby, when you try to unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask, you’ll feel a little buzz from your Apple Watch and your iPhone should authenticate you.

There are a few caveats to this feature, though. It only works for unlocking your iPhone — it won’t work for authenticating things like App Store or Apple Pay purchases. And you’ll still have to manually enter your passcode on your iPhone every once in a while as an extra security measure.

If you want to get the public betas to try the feature out, head over to Apple’s beta program site. Note that you’ll need to install the iOS 14.5 beta first before you can install the watchOS 7.4 beta. And be warned that because this is beta software, you might run into unexpected bugs, crashes, and performance issues. Install with caution.