The Trick to Getting Your iPhone to Recognize Your Masked Face

Struggling to get your phone to register your face when you're wearing a mask? Here's a fix.

As much as we're all trying to limit what we come into contact with day in and day out, your phone is one item you can't help but touch amid the coronavirus pandemic. These days, you're using your phone for virtual doctors appointments, to keep your grocery list in order, and to stay in touch with colleagues, friends, and family. But if you're also doing your best to stay safe by wearing a mask, you've probably noticed that your iPhone's facial recognization technology doesn't register your protected face to unlock your phone. That means you're left having to use the keypad to enter your passcode, thus increasing your touch points with each number pressed.

The struggle has been real, as these tweets prove.

An Apple spokeswoman said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal that "Face ID is designed to work with your eyes, nose, and mouth visible," adding that "users can still unlock their devices while wearing a mask by entering their passcode."

But there seems to be a way around the facial recognization issue, even if you're wearing a face mask. All it takes is following these six steps on your phone to make it work.

  1. Fold a face mask in half.
face mask folded in half on black background
  1. Click "Settings" on your home screen.
closeup of settings screen on iphone
  1. Scroll down to "Face ID & Passcode."
  1. Select "Set Up an Alternate Appearance."
phone shows set up alternate appearance screen
  1. Scan your face while holding your folded mask over the left side of your face, just over the tip of your nose.
man holding up face mask on left side of screen
Abacus News via YouTube
  1. For the second scan, hold your folded mask over the right side of your face.
woman holding up face mask on left side of face
Abacus News via YouTube

Now your phone should recognize your face with your mask on and without.

Here's a video from Abacus News to walk you through the process, which has had varying degrees of success. We hope it works for you! And for a different kind of phone safety advice, here are 4 Cell Phone Emergency Tricks You Probably Didn't Know.

Jaimie Etkin
Jaimie is the Editor-in-Chief of Best Life. Read more
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