We expect that it might be a while before we start feeling safe to not wear masks out in public, which means that until then, unlocking your iPhone using Face ID can be rather annoying. While Apple has made improvements to help bring up the passcode prompt faster when a mask is detected, it’s still slightly troublesome.

The good news is that with the release of iOS 14.5, Apple has introduced a new way of unlocking your iPhone while wearing a mask using your Apple Watch. If you own an Apple Watch and an iPhone with Face ID, you’ll now be able to unlock your iPhone through the smartwatch.

Unlocking iPhone Using The Apple Watch

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone
  2. Go to Face ID & Passcode
  3. Enter your passcode to verify yourself
  4. Go to Unlock with Apple Watch and toggle it on, and make sure that wrist detection has also been enabled
  5. Now whenever you try to unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask, as long as your Apple Watch is on your wrist and you’re authenticated, your iPhone will unlock like normal. You will also receive haptic feedback on your Apple Watch to let you know your phone was unlocked.

According to Apple, all you need is an iPhone that supports Face ID, which is basically the iPhone X and later. You will also need to have iOS 14.5 or later installed on your iPhone for this to work.


The unlocking feature will be supported on the Apple Watch Series 3 or later. If you own an older device, you’re out of luck. You will also need to have watchOS 7.4 or later installed on the Apple Watch. For Apple Watch Series 3 owners, this can be an issue so be sure to check out our guide on how to free up space on the Apple Watch to fix this problem.


In order for this feature to work, you will need a compatible iPhone and Apple Watch. If you already have those, then you also need to make sure that the Apple Watch and iPhone are paired and that Bluetooth and WiFi are enabled. You will also need to make sure that your Apple Watch’s passcode and wrist detection features are enabled, and that when the Apple Watch is on your wrist, it is also unlocked.


If for example someone held up your iPhone to your face to unlock it, you can quickly relock it by tapping the “Lock iPhone” button that shows up on your Apple Watch. By doing this, the next time your iPhone is being unlocked, you will be prompted to enter your passcode for verification and safety purposes.

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