Why the Face ID unlock with a mask feature will only work on iPhone 12 and above

We all cried and whined when we discovered Apple’s Face ID system wasn’t compatible with face masks. And while the company introduced a few workarounds, it’s now ready for the real deal: Face ID that works with a mask on*.

You might ask why there’s an asterisk sign? It’s not a typo. It’s there because this new system will only work with iPhone 12 and above. BOOOOOOO!

Apple’s reasoning behind this is that the feature requires “advancements in the TrueDepth camera system.” And apparently, the pleb Face ID system on the iPhone 11 is not powerful enough.

How will this work?

Apple’s currently testing this out with the iOS 15.4 public beta, and will roll it out to all users in the coming months. To make Face ID work, the company has worked on new algorithms, trained to identify areas around the eye region to unlock your device.

The firm claimed that this new feature’s security levels are the same as Face ID without a mask — an error rate of 1 in 1,000,000 tries.

Currently, your iPhone can recognize your face when you’re trying to unlock it at an angle. However, to make it work accurately while wearing a mask, you’ll have to directly look at the iPhone.