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Apple makes iPhones easier to unlock without Face ID as many wear masks

The beta feature comes during the spread of the coronavirus.

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Face masks and Face ID don't necessarily play well together.
Angela Lang/CNET

Apple is including a new feature in iOS 13.5 developer beta 3 so users can unlock their iPhones faster while wearing a medical mask or facial covering because of COVID-19. Though not mentioned in the iOS release notes published Wednesday, the Face ID changes are meant to make it simpler and faster to get to the passcode field by swiping up from the bottom of the lock screen on your iPhone.

This is designed to work not only for unlocking the phone but also for authenticating purchases, including in the App Store, Apple Books, Apple Pay and iTunes, and while using apps that need Face ID authentication.

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There's no information yet on when this feature will be released to the public, however.

Also as part of the beta, Apple is delivering its first tools for coronavirus tracking technology alongside Google. The new Exposure Notification API will support public health authority COVID-19 apps. The software is set to be fully released in mid-May.