Since the need for so many people to wear masks in public has made its Face ID function almost pointless, Apple has decided to update its mobile software to cope with this coronavirus-inspired problem. Developers already have access to the iPhone's iOS 13.5 and iPadOS 13.5 GM. This update will likely be released before June 2020, according to 9to5Mac.
Here's how the new iOS will work: Face ID will recognize the mask and rather than using less visual data (just the user's eyes), it will punt to the phone's password screen. In one sense there's no change at all—the phone still needs to see your full face to unlock solely with Face ID—but it will react to masks without needing a swipe or tap from the owner.
This effectively speeds access to the apps that function only after identifying the user, including the App Store, App Books, Apple Pay, and iTunes as well as banking apps—anything that needs Face ID.
Apple will also improve its COVID-19 notification system. When Bluetooth detects two people close to each other and one has been diagnosed with the virus, phones will anonymously alert each other and upload contact tracing lists to the cloud. Lists will be cross-compared to match all local positives. Those who have been too close to a coronavirus sufferer will be asked to get medical assistance.
iOS reportedly will also make Group FaceTime improvements, various bug fixes and add the ability to send essential health information from 911 callers within the United States.
Don't punt and switch to Android out of frustration just yet. Apple is just as aware of the new reality as anyone and rolling with the punches.