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Wearing a face mask? Apple simplifies unlocking your iPhone

The next major iOS 13 update will make it easier for people regularly wearing face masks to unlock their iPhone or iPad.

Within the new iOS 13.5 developer beta, released today, the company is offering fast access to the passcode-entry screen by swiping up from the bottom of the display.

Currently, that gesture calls for Apple users to at least attempt a Face ID-based authentication before they’re offered access to the passcode option, but this will simplify matters somewhat (via 9to5Mac).

Related: Best iPhone 2020

The current workflow can cause delays and frustrations upon opening the handset if the Face ID tech can’t get a good look at your grille. It’s not certain whether Apple will save this for the iOS 13.5 consumer release in the weeks to come or whether it’ll drop it into a smaller update to ensure people gain access to the helpful feature a little sooner.

You can see it in action in the tweet from eagle-eyed Apple reporter Guilherme Rambo below:

The change isn’t the only tool coming in iOS 13.5 that will assist with coping with coronavirus. Apple is also planning a Group FaceTime tweak, which makes it more compatible with larger groups.

The company is enabling users to disable the feature that automatically makes the thumbnail of the active speaker larger on screen. The tweak, which can enabled manually, will keep all faces the same size within a manual grid. It’ll still be possible to make certain people’s faces larger by tapping on them individually.

Of course, the most important feature within the iOS 13.5 beta, which is only available to developers at present, is the Exposure Notification API. This will power applications used for coronavirus contact-tracing, which is seen as part of the puzzle when it comes to easing lockdowns.

There’s a new option in Settings to enable the opt-in feature:

iPhone is using Bluetooth to securely share your random IDs with nearby devices and collect their IDs. This enables an app to notify you if you may have been exposed to COVID-19. Random IDs are deleted after 14 days.

Apps you authorize can notify you if you’re exposed to COVID-19. You can also choose to anonymously share your COVID-19 diagnosis.

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