Apple is set to launch iOS 15.4 and next week, which will finally make it possible to use Face ID effectively, even if you’re wearing a face covering.
The big new update, which is likely to be the last major release before iOS 16 is revealed in the summer, will probably arrive on March 18 or before.
Apple has already said the luscious new green hues for the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro – announced at the Peek Performance event on March 8 – will arrive with iOS 15.4 out of the box on March 18.
So, it would make perfect sense if Apple also rolled out the update on that day. Given Apple likes to out these mid-release updates during mid-week, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it on March 15/16 either.
The release has been in beta for a few weeks now, with a number of big features scheduled to be on board. The Face ID with Mask feature is the headliner though, resolving a pandemic pain point when using Apple Pay in the supermarket, for example.
Currently, Face ID is non-functional when users are wearing a mask and will instead request a passcode, unless the iPhone owner is also wearing their Apple Watch. The new version has been trained to focus on the area around the eyes, meaning users can keep their mask on and still unlock their phone easily.
Elsewhere iOS 15.4 will introduce a ‘tap to pay’ feature, which will enable iPhones to become mobile terminals for accepting payments. The feature could eventually become really handy for quick peer-to-peer payments and small vendors at a local farmers market, for example.
Along with iOS 15.4, Apple will also launch iPadOS 15.4 which – along with a macOS Monterrey update – will finally unlock the Universal Control feature that will provide a major boost for interoperability between iPad and Mac.
iOS 15.4 also adds a new American voice for Siri as well as new anti-stalking features for the AirTag item trackers.