Apple testing tech that could allow users to unlock phones with face mask on

Credit: PA

Apple is testing new tech that would allow iPhone users to unlock their mobiles through facial recognition - even when wearing a face mask.

Face ID, the tech giant's facial recognition system, is said to have received the update as part of iOS 15.4, which is now going through testing. 

Brandon Butch, one of the early testers, has posted screenshots of the new feature to Twitter.

It looks like iPhone users will have the option to turn the tool on and off, but Apple says Face ID is more effective while being able to see the entire face.   

iPhone users will have two options - 'Use Face ID With a Mask' or 'Don't Use Face ID With a Mask'. 

Butch says users who have the update first have to go to their iPhone's settings and tap 'Face ID', followed by 'Use Face ID With a Mask' to switch the option on and off. 

The new Face ID feature will only work with iPhone 12 and newer editions and will focus on the user's area around the eyes to identify people, Apple has confirmed.

When asked by ITV News if they are concerned many people will have stopped wearing face masks by the time the feature is ready, Apple said: "People across the world wore masks before the pandemic and it’s safe to say they will continue to do so. Some people wear masks in the course of their job, so the feature will always be helpful."

The US company is yet to reveal a date for the full release of the iOS 15.4.