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Set-up Face ID with a mask on a phone.

How to set up Face ID with a mask

The current global pandemic has seen us regularly having to wear face masks. These coverings obscure our key identifying features and therefore render Face ID unusable. So, how can we set up Face ID with a mask?

My Face ID won’t work with a mask

With the removal of the home button and fingerprint detection, Apple’s newer generation of iPhone models utilise an infallible system; facial recognition. That was until the current situation arose and the entire populace has had to don facemasks.

Originally we had thought that this would be impossible to work around, due to Apple’s high level of security on all of their biometric checks and a statement from Apple themselves.

“‘Face ID is designed to work with your eyes, nose, and mouth visible,” an Apple spokeswoman said in a statement. “Users can still unlock their devices while wearing a mask by entering their passcode.”

For many essential workers entering a passcode can also be difficult due the level of PPE that many people who work in these areas have to wear every day.

For those that need to use their smartphones it can very challenging to juggle around gloves and a mask in order to get into your device.

How to use Face ID with a Mask

Through experimentation we have found that it is possible to trick your iPhone into reading your face while wearing a mask, although the results are mixed.

Here are the steps that we followed.

  1. Head to “Settings” and then “Face ID & Passcode”.

Set-up Face ID with a mask on a phone settings screen.

2. Press “Set-up Alternative Appearance”.

Set-up Face ID with a mask alternative appearance option screen.

3. Fold your mask in half and hold it on one side of your face. Hold it in place with one finger for best results.

Set-up Face ID with a mask obstructed image screen.

4. If you get the face obstructed warning, move your mask slowly away from the centre of your face, typically you only want to cover the tip of your nose.

5. Complete two scans of your face with the mask folded in the same orientation.

6. You should see “Face ID is now set up”.

7. Put your mask on, covering your whole face, test out if it works to unlock your iPhone.

Once completed your phone should scan your face with and without a mask and allow you access.

You may find it doesn’t always open with the mask on. Sometimes you have to shift your mask around slightly in order to get your phone to unlock.

How about with a face shield?

We have also tried to unlock devices using face shields, but have also found mixed results. The process is exactly the same, where you set an alternate appearance, but instead wear the full-face shield.

We have found that depending on the shield you have this may work. It seems to depend on how thick and the type of plastic that is used.

Some of them allow the laser from the dot projector to read your face correctly.Others detract or inhibit the beam making set-up impossible.

The best thing to do is to give it a try and to see if it will work with your face shield or PPE Set-up.

My Face ID doesn’t work no matter what I do

If your Face ID isn’t working, even when you are not wearing a mask, chances are you’ve experienced a fault with your Face ID, front camera or even your earpiece.

Anyone of these components failing can actually cause your Face ID function to malfunction. We offer replacement services for all of these components, which you can book online in under three minutes.

If you don’t know what is causing these issues, we also offer free diagnosis on devices brought to us in-store. From there we can determine what the cause is and offer you a repair.

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