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Apple releases iOS 14.5 beta 1 with a Face ID workaround for when you’re wearing a mask

Published Feb 1st, 2021 2:02PM EST
iOS 14.5 Beta Download
Image: Zach Epstein for BGR

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  • Apple just released iOS 14.4 to the general public, and now the first iOS 14.5 beta is here.
  • There are plenty of bug fixes and new features in iOS 14.5, but there’s one in particular that iPhone users will love.
  • iOS 14.5 includes an option to allow the Apple Watch to unlock your iPhone while you’re wearing a face mask.

The coronavirus pandemic is obviously a catastrophe on so many levels, but it has also disrupted some things in our lives that we might never have thought of in the past. For example, Apple’s Face ID face recognition feature is totally useless when you’re wearing a face mask to protect yourself and those around you from COVID-19. We’ve heard rumblings for quite some time that Apple was working on a solution for this problem, and now that solution is finally about to be released.  Or, if you have an iPhone and an iOS developer account, you can check out Apple’s face mask workaround right now because it’s included in the just-released iOS 14.5 beta 1 software.

With iOS 14.5 beta 1, Apple has created an option to allow your Apple Watch to unlock your iPhone while you’re wearing a face mask. As long as your Apple Watch remains on, your phone will recognize when you’re wearing a face mask and will automatically unlock, rather than forcing you to type in your PIN or passcode. This is not a universal Apple Watch unlock feature — Face ID must detect that you’re wearing a face mask in order for the new “Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch” feature to work.

Apple’s iOS 14.5 beta 1 is now available to download and install alongside the corresponding iPad software update for developers, iPadOS 14.5. beta 1. If you’re wondering whether or not your device is compatible with iOS 14 or iPadOS 14, we put together a full list below that contains every compatible device. If your device is on there, you’re good to go:

  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE (1st generation)
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation)
  • iPod touch (7th generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st generation)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch
  • iPad (7th generation)
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Air 2

As you know by now, installing a new iOS or iPadOS beta on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch couldn’t be easier. Just navigate to Settings > General > Software Update and then tap “Download and Install” at the bottom of that page. If you want, you can also install the update through iTunes by connecting your iOS device to your computer. Whichever method you choose, just make sure to back up your device before installing the update.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.

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