Your iPhone will soon be easier to unlock when wearing a face mask, thanks to iOS 13.5

(Image credit: Future)

Apple has published a developer beta version of the upcoming iOS 13.5 release, revealing that the new version of the mobile operating system might bring a number of features that will help with the current Covid-19 crisis.

Unfortunately, this beta version isn’t available to the public and is intended purely for developers to preview the new features and, as a result, make any adjustments they may need to their apps.

It’s also worth mentioning that, as this is a beta version, there’s no guarantee that these features will make it to the final release, but they are more than likely strong indicators of updates to come, at the very least.


Earlier in April, Google and Apple announced that they would team up to turn your phone into a contact-tracing device to help curb the spread of Covid-19. 

Using Bluetooth to scan for nearby devices that are in the user’s vicinity for a set duration, this service will then transfer anonymous identifiers (randomly generated keys) between devices, alerting the user if they’ve been close to anyone who has since tested positive for the virus.

At this stage, it’s just an iOS and Android API, meaning other official governmental and health departments will need to use this framework to develop their own applications. Now that the tools are available in the developer beta for iOS, the process should speed up considerably.

Face ID and FaceTime

Face ID will also be getting some tweaks to help tackle the issue of the security measure failing to recognize people wearing face masks.

Users with an iPhone sporting this biometric feature currently have to wait for it to fail before they’re prompted to enter their PIN code. The update will alter this process so that the number pad appears along with Face ID recognition, immediately after swiping to unlock the device.

Anyone currently using FaceTime to make group video calls to stay connected will have found that the video feed of the person speaking gets enlarged by default. As per a new feature in iOS 13.5 beta, a setting might be added to FaceTime group calls that will allow participants to disable that feature, keeping the tile of the person currently talking small if preferred.

No details have been revealed on when iOS 13.5 will be available to the public, but we can assume these features will be rolled out with some degree of urgency given the current situation.

Harry Domanski
Harry is an Australian Journalist for TechRadar with an ear to the ground for future tech, and the other in front of a vintage amplifier. He likes stories told in charming ways, and content consumed through massive screens. He also likes to get his hands dirty with the ethics of the tech.