Unlocking an iPhone while wearing a face mask will get a little easier

When Apple transitioned from Touch ID to Face ID, it likely did so without considering one big future issue in mind: a once-in-a-century global pandemic that would result in most of the world's population wearing face masks while in public. With half of one's face shielded behind a mask, the iPhone refuses to unlock, making access less convenient overall. Apple is addressing that with a new feature found in an upcoming iOS release.READ: 2020 iPhones may be late to the party because of coronavirus

iPhone owners who wear face masks will find it easier to unlock their handset with the arrival of a new swipe-up feature that pulls up the passcode screen.

With this new feature, which has appeared in iOS 13.5 beta 3, users won't need to first try to use Face ID, only to wait for it to reject the attempt and then pull up the passcode screen.

Unless you're running the latest beta version of iOS, you won't yet have access to this feature, though it'll arrive in the coming weeks. This obviously addresses the issue of either waiting for the passcode to appear on the display, which means a somewhat long pause before getting access to your handset, or pulling down your face mask momentarily to use Face ID, which comes with an increased risk of virus exposure.

The other option, of course, is turning off Face ID entirely, but that is annoying when you're at home — the place most people are spending the majority of their time. The new swiping gesture to pull up the passcode is a nice compromise between the two, offering faster access to the passcode without disabling Face ID.