IOS 13.5 beta: Face ID on iPhone detects that you’re wearing a Coronavirus’ mask

Amine Sahal
IOS 13.5 Face ID

Apple has thought of the world to come by adding on the IOS 13.5 a Face ID to detect a mask on a face. The iPhone will not be unlocked, but will immediately offer you to enter your code without retrying a biometric unlocking.

The beta 3 of iOS 13.5, the operating system for the iPhone, was released on April 29th. It is the first beta to include contact tracing options, a global feature based on what Google and Apple call “exposure notification.” The teams who are developing contact tracing applications will consequently be able to work with tools that are interoperable between Android and iOS, and that allow the use of Bluetooth in the background.

IOS 13.5 Beta: Face ID when you have to wear a mask

The latest iOS update IOS “13.5 beta” includes a feature related to the coronavirus pandemic. The feature was spotted by 9to5Mac. On the current consumer version, Face ID will try several times to unlock the iPhone without succeeding because your face is hidden by a cloth or paper mask. Apple did not go in the direction of making the biometric unlocking work with a mask but did facilitate the use of an iPhone.

Of course, this does not affect your face recognition in normal circumstances. That’s the subtlety of the system: being able to walk normally, and when it detects that you are wearing a mask, it offers you a keypad unlock directly. This means that when Face ID is unable to recognize you for a reason not related to a mask, the system must be designed to try again anyway. The addition of the mask is the trigger for this new feature.

It will be interesting to see how the face recognition unlocking systems will evolve in the coming months. While the world is getting ready to live with a coronavirus mask, which will be mandatory under certain conditions around the world. The advanced biometric unlocking offered by Google on its Pixel 4 and Apple from the iPhone X finds the limit of its comfortable use. In fact, it is because of this system projects “dots” on the face to recognize its shape that it is much more secure. Other solutions only take into account two-dimensional faces.

IOS 13.5 Face ID

In return for this advanced security, shapes that cover the face, such as masks, are not easily taken into account by the system. Up to a new version adapted to the new health standards of mankind.

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