Face ID of masked users

Will Apple every figure out how to do face ID of users wearing a mask?

Putting a QR code on the mask won’t work as it defeats the purpose of Face ID.

But couldn’t they add an instruction to pull down the mask briefly if the software detects the user is wearing a mask?

How about a question that only the user could answer, like which of these places did you visit yesterday? Blink your eyes once for A, twice for B, or 3 times for C. One chance to get it right.

There must be a better way that it trying, failing, having to push the use passcode button and enter 6 digits.

I’d be happy if it detected the mask and automatically went to the passcode screen.

This supports my conclusion that other than operating systems, Apple just isn’t very good at application software.

Try asking this: “Hey Siri, what was the budget to make the new Dune movie?” And see if you get $165 million or showtimes near you.


Apple has registered some very interesting patents regarding this issue:

Periocular Facial Recognition Switching

Apple’s patent covers a facial recognition authentication process operating on a device includes a switch between a full-face facial recognition authentication process and a partial face facial recognition authentication process. The switch may operate by assessing occlusion in an image captured by a camera on the device in response to a user attempting to access the device. The device may operate the full-face facial recognition authentication process when certain facial features of the user (e.g., the eyes, nose, and/or mouth) are not occluded in the image. The device may operate the partial face facial recognition authentication process when these facial features are at least partially occluded.

I don’t think Apple should be encouraging people to pull down their mask when in a situation where this might be illegal. Especially in a situation (paying at a shop) where you are likely near someone else.

On my iPhone 12 mini, if I swipe up with a mask on it goes directly to the passcode screen. If I try to pay, it immediately offers me a button to pay with passcode which takes me to the passcode screen. I’m not sure how this could be smoother or easier other than having a fingerprint scanner as well so it could bypass FaceID and the passcode.


Apparently it doesn’t bother you as much as it bothers me.

For payments of small amounts like bus fare I can set the phone to not require FaceID.

But for every other function on the phone I must log in.

Face ID is great but mask mandates ruined it. And the fact we still have mask mandates is in some part due to people who refuse to get vaccinated. ( But that is a while other issue)

There is facial recognition using just a person’s eyes.

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Note that if Face ID appears not to be working, you can tap on the words ‘Face ID’ to go immediately to the passcode screen.


Yes, use Unlock with Apple Watch. Works like a charm.


Touch ID eliminates the mask issue really well and I wish it were on all iPhones. In the meatime I’ll stick with my SE2


One really nice thing about TouchID is that in these masked times it usually works much faster and easier. So much so, that I at times wish my TouchID Mac could be used to unlock my FaceID iPhone.

except when it doesn’t. at least 10% of the time, i find unlock with apple watch doesn’t work. but when it does work, it’s great.

note that the watch for apple pay is excellent. its trigger mechanism is close to impossible to accidentally set yet it’s just a simple double click (which incidentally i find really awkward on my phone but a piece of cake on the watch).

apple needs to extend the unlock with apple watch feature to third party apps. 1password especially needs an alternate unlock mechanism like that as do most banking apps.

2¢ canook opinion

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I’d be ok with that as long as it’s an option, as I don’t want my phone unlocked for apps or Apple Wallet if it is unlocked from my watch. (But I understand why others would be fine with it, so as long as it’s an option.)

As for Touch ID, it also has its issues - when outside and wearing gloves, or when your fingers are wet, it’s always tough. Adding Touch ID to the side button (as with the iPad Air 4 or iPad mini 6) would be an interesting idea, though unpractical for most people, as I believe most people use cases that cover the side button anyway. I have a feeling that Apple is continuing to work on under-display Touch ID, but it’s likely not ready yet, or not inexpensive enough to add.


totally agree. but it’d be wonderful if it were an option.

Works perfectly for me, so yah, they figured it out. I just tap phone, being linked to Apple Watch, it opens licketyt split. Awesome.

Maybe I should buy an Apple Watch, but so far I haven’t felt the compulsion to own one. ~~

I want Face ID to work for masked users WITHOUT an Apple Watch


And I’d like a device which would read my brain waves and know who I am without any additional interaction. There’s no reasonable way to expect a facial recognition system to work with a significant portion of the face covered.


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I agree completely. I’m SO SAD that I “upgraded” to a Face ID phone just a few months before the pandemic. If the battery on my old phone wasn’t toast, I’d put my new one in a draw, till masks were an oddity.
I’d grown so spoiled using touch ID w/ Apple Pay at registers. I now find it easier to use my credit card.

No argument that Touch ID is a win for Apple Pay in a masked world, but using Apple Pay on the Apple Watch is even easier for those with one, since you don’t have to get your phone out first. I still get a little thrill every time I use my watch to pay for something—it really is living in the future.

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:laughing: At times I’d like to swap my FaceID 12 mini for a 2020 SE with TouchID because I find myself using it masked so often. I have a reasonably long password which I refuse to compromise to 4-digit level so punching it in manually is a chore. I’m sure the SE’s camera is plenty fine for what I do 95% of the time. I do believe I wouldn’t like the added size (the SE is thinner, but wider and taller, plus a tad heavier) while getting less screen. I’ve become quite accustomed to the all-screen front.

Like Adam, I use my watch for Apple Pay. It’s totally living in the future.

I would use my debit card to tap otherwise.

Like Adam and Tommy, I love using my Apple Watch for Apple Pay. Its quick, easy and surprises a lot of checkout people (most of whom think it is very cool).

I also like my watch’s ability to unlock my phone when I’m wearing my mask.

Let me endorse that for dealing with retailers, Apple Pay on an Apple Watch is cool. Pulling out a phone rather than a credit card is a wash, but just double-clicking on a button, selecting the appropriate image on the watch face and flipping my wrist over the scanner is great. It’s been available on the Apple Watch since the beginning, and I’m surprised how little promotion Apple gives it.

I also use the wallet on the watch for having QR codes on various discount cards and my medical id scanned. Several years ago, when British Airways inaugurated digital boarding passes, I tries to use the watch version of the wallet card for the pass to board the plane, but there was a bar above the actual scanner that prevented my wrist from getting close enough. I had to pull out my phone.