Apple has released its developer betas for iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4. The beta gives us a better look at the features that the next update will bring, specifically how the iPhone and Apple Watch will interact with each other. This includes the ability to unlock an iPhone with the Apple Watch while wearing a face mask.
According to 9to5 Mac, the iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4 is currently only available to developers. The publication speculates that the public beta will kick off from next week onwards. The general version of the OS should start rolling out to the masses sometime in the next few months.
How it works
It was also noted that the iPhone will only unlock if certain criteria are met. The phone will first detect if the user is wearing a mask. It will then check if the Apple Watch is nearby and if it is worn on the user’s wrist. Once both these are confirmed, it will then check if the Apple Watch is unlocked and has a passcode enabled. One when it confirms that everything is in order will it unlock the iPhone. Users will also get a haptic feedback notification from the Apple Watch to let them know that the phone has been unlocked. Users will also be able to ‘Lock iPhone’ directly via that notification.
This new feature will appeal to iPhone users who are tired of being unable to use FaceID due to mandatory use of masks in public spaces. However, it should be noted that not only will users need to own an Apple Watch to make use of the feature, but they will also need to have ‘wrist detection’ enabled on the wearable. Otherwise, they will have no other option but to stick with passcodes to unlock their iPhone.