With Apple’s iOS 13.5 update, your iPhone was able to switch to your secondary authentication method faster when trying to use face recognition with a face mask. However, it is still a tedious process that you have to go through every time you want to unlock your iPhone. iOS 14.5 addresses this issue by adding a new auto-unlock option for those who also own an Apple Watch. I do, and it’s too good a feature to wait for.

I say “wait for” because iOS 14.5 is technically not yet available to the public. Apple is testing the update as part of a developer beta – that wonderful phrase that suggests you might have a buggy experience slapping it on your iPhone right now. I go back and forth here; I love being able to access the latest features, but a sluggish or otherwise fussy iPhone – especially if it’s my primary device – isn’t the best experience.

Still, in these pandemic times, having to tap my iPhone after getting used to the wonderful convenience of Face ID isn’t much fun either. So much so that I think I’ll be installing the iOS 14.5 beta. What’s the worst that could happen?

If you’d like to join me, here’s how to get into this developer beta. First, create a backup of your iPhone, regardless of whether you send it to iCloud (via Settings> Your Apple ID> iCloud> iCloud Backup) or connect your iPhone to a computer and do a manual backup. This is important because you want to be able to revert to your normal operating system if the beta is too buggy for your liking.

Illustration for item titled Unlock Your iPhone Using Your Apple Watch While Wearing a Face MaskScreenshot: David Murphy

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Next, open Safari on your iPhone and navigate to Beta profiles. In the box for the beta version of iOS 14.5, tap on “Download” and don’t let the warning screen get in your way:

When your iPhone prompts you to download a configuration profile to your device, tap “Enable.” When you’re done, close Safari and open yours the settings App. Tap on General> Profilewhere to find the profile you just downloaded. Tap on it, then tap To install in the upper right corner. You will eventually be asked to restart your iPhone as part of the installation process. Do that.

not definedScreenshot: David Murphy

Once your iPhone is back up, tap the settings again and then General> Software update. You should now be able to download the iOS 14.5 Developer Beta (if the download has not started yet).

not definedScreenshot: David Murphy

Once that’s done, the new feature to unlock Apple Watch can be found in Settings> Face ID & Passcode. However, you’ll also need to repeat the same steps to install the watchOS 7.4 Developer Beta (update your Apple Watch as usual at the end instead of going to the “Software Update” section of your iPhone).

Don’t assume this handy feature will work every time you use your iPhone while wearing your Apple Watch. Developed for Living in a Pandemic Function, your iPhone must recognize that you are wearing a face mask. If this is the case and you are also wearing your (passcode-enabled and unlocked) Apple Watch, your iPhone will be unlocked automatically. Unless you are wearing a mask, you have to unlock your iPhone the old fashioned way.