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iOS 15.4 beta lets you unlock Face ID with a mask; iPadOS 15.4 and macOS 12.3 provide universal control

Apple has released the first developer betas of iOS 15.4, iPadOS 15.4, and macOS Monterey 12.3. One of the biggest changes made in the latest iOS 15.4 beta is the ability to unlock your iPhone with Face ID while wearing a mask. The iPadOS 15.4 and macOS 12.3 betas, on the other hand, include delayed universal controls to improve the experience for users who own iPads and Macs.

With the ability to unlock iPhone with Face ID with a mask, Apple has updated its proprietary facial recognition technology. This is one of the most requested features as people have been wearing masks since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

Apple has tried to solve the problem of not recognizing people with Face ID before when they wear a mask. In 2020, it allowed a faster way to unlock with passcodes while wearing masks on Face ID-enabled devices. Last year, the company also made it possible to unlock Face ID-equipped iPhone models with the Apple Watch while wearing masks. However, both updates were not well received by users.

The new iOS 15.4 beta shows that the Cupertino giant is finally responding to user requests by allowing them to unlock their iPhone with masked Face ID.

Apple has trained new algorithms to recognize users by their eye area when wearing a mask. This allows users to unlock their iPhone with Face ID without removing their mask or using alternatives like passcodes or Apple Watch.

Users get the option to set up Face ID with a mask when they first boot their iPhone running iOS 15.4. Additionally, this feature can be enabled after booting from iOS 15.4 by enabling the “Use Face ID with Mask” option available under Settings > Face ID and password.

You do not need to wear a mask during installation. This means that the experience of registering for Face ID with a mask is similar to how you would normally register for facial recognition technology.

Apple has also developed this feature to work with glasses. However, when setting up Face ID with a mask, it is recommended that you register your glasses separately. You can use up to four pairs of glasses with each registered appearance.

It’s important to note that while Face ID is available on iPhone X and later, Face ID with a mask is limited to iPhone 12 and newer iPhones. It is also currently not available for iPad users.

Apple claims that the accuracy and security of Face ID with a mask is in line with existing facial recognition support. This means that the chance of a random person in the population being able to look at your iPhone and unlock it using Face ID with a mask is roughly one in 1,000,000 with one registered appearance.

In addition to the Face ID update, the first developer beta of iOS 15.4 provides the ability to copy text from objects using the camera in the Notes and Reminders apps. There are also new emoji like heart hands biting lips, pregnant man and pregnant man, hamsa and some others.

Along with the beta for iPhone users, Apple has unveiled the first developer beta of iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3 with Universal Control. The feature was announced at WWDC last year and was expected to be part of macOS Monterey at the time of its first release in October. Apple, however, delayed the release by a few months.

Apple showed off Universal Control on macOS Monterey during its announcement last year.
Photo Credit: Apple

With universal control, one keyboard and mouse or trackpad can seamlessly work between your Mac and iPad. You can also connect to multiple Macs or iPads at the same time and move the cursor between them or type words on your Mac or iPad. In addition, this feature even allows users to drag and drop content from one Mac to another.

Universal Control uses Apple’s Continuity to establish a connection between your Mac and iPad. However, you need both devices to use the signal Apple ID. The devices you want to use Universal Control on must also be within a few meters of each other and have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Handoff turned on.

Notably, this isn’t the first time Apple has allowed connection between Mac and iPad devices. The company has done this in the past, adding Sidecar as a feature that allows users to use their iPad as a secondary display or input device. However, Universal Control takes it a step further and allows users to control both Mac and iPad with a single keyboard, mouse, or trackpad.

Apple hasn’t provided exact timelines for when the features will be available in public releases. Meanwhile, you can experience them on an additional device, subscribing for public beta versions of new software as part of Apple’s beta testing program.

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