How to unlock iPhone with Apple Watch in iOS 14.5, even with a skin

A pedestrian in a protective mask uses his cell phone as he walks past an Apple iPhone advertisement on Orchard Road, Singapore.

Wei Ling Tai | Bloomberg | fake images

Apple, city, cat early Unlock your iPhone whenever you use Apple Watch. This means that it will be much easier to unlock your phone while wearing a mask, which you currently have to remove for Face ID to work.

The feature will launch sometime this spring when Apple releases iOS 14.5 for iPhones and the corresponding Apple Watch update. It requires that you have an Apple Watch on your wrist, unlocked and with its password.

It works well. You may be familiar with this process if you have a Mac and an Apple Watch; you can actually unlock your Mac just by walking up to it with your Apple Watch, for example.

The experience is very similar to that of an iPhone. If you have a skin (or even if you don’t), just swipe up from the bottom of your iPhone screen. Your iPhone will scan a part of your face and give your Apple Watch a little buzz to indicate that it has been used to unlock your iPhone. It unlocks in an instant, just like Face ID does when you don’t have a mask.

I’ve also tried it with more than just a mask. I lifted my shirt and covered everything but my forehead and eyes, and it worked. It didn’t work when I completely closed my face or if I tried to unlock the phone without being in front of it.

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Here’s how to set it up when iOS 14.5 was released.

IPhone unlocked using my Apple Watch running iOS 14.5.

Todd Hasselton | CNBC

I tested it with the beta version of iOS 14.5. But once you roll it out for everyone this spring, you can follow these steps to set it up.

  • Open Settings on your iPhone.
  • Touch Face ID and password.
  • Enter your iPhone password.
  • Scroll down to “Unlock with Apple Watch.”
  • Move the button next to the Apple Watch so it turns on.

This is. Now when you go to unlock your iPhone with a skin, you will feel a nice bump on the Apple Watch while unlocking your iPhone.

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