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Facial Recognition that can Identify you with a Mask on, innovative or Dangerous?

Facial Recognition Technology (FRT) is always evolving and the most recent innovation came from Apple. The new IOS 15.4 update includes a feature that allows iPhone users to remain recognizable even with a mask on, by focusing on the eyes in greater detail.

Apple did roll out an update allowing users to unlock their phones with a mask on before this but only if they had an apple watch. This update not only allows you to unlock your phone while wearing a mask, but you will also be able to use services like Apple Pay (which requires your entire face to be visible in the process of identity verification) and get into apps that are secured with Face ID.

Though this is an excellent stride for Apple and in Facial Recognition Technology, it is currently only available on iPhone 12 and 13 models. So what we need to look at are the pros and cons of this technology, and whether it could be implemented on a larger scale.


There is no denying that one thing facial recognition technology has brought about is convenience and speed and this is no exception to that. Its biggest pro is:

Faster Identification

You can unlock everything while wearing a mask and glasses. This is a big pro, especially because we are living in a pandemic and a lot of countries still have a mask mandate in stores or on public transport. Having faster and more detailed ID verification makes life a little easier and who wouldn’t want that.

It also provides great convenience with Apple Pay. While in the past people that had an Apple watch could use the watch to pay and unlock their phones when wearing a mask, not everyone does have an Apple watch. Now anyone who has the 12-13 iPhone models can use this feature without the anxiety of taking off your mask to get Apple Pay to work during rush hour on public transport or at a cash register.

Usually, when an iPhone is not able to verify your identity using Face ID, it resorts back to password verification. This update makes password verification a last resort. If all else fails, your apple watch, mask, glasses, and full-face ID verification, then password verification comes into play. Most iPhone users already know how frustrating it can be for face ID to fail, especially when using services like Apple Pay, and having to put in a 6-digit password. It is even more frustrating when you are in a rush.

This update provides a faster more detailed ID verification process that allows you to wear a mask and protect yourself and still access everything you need on your phone. Apple’s Face ID with a Mask works so well, it might end password purgatory is an article that goes into greater detail on how this update can be set up, for reference.


This update is the beta version, meaning there is room for improvement and it is not perfect. There may be times when it cannot accurately verify your identity with a mask and glasses on, so here are some things to look out for:

It does not work with sunglasses. This is a fairly understandable con as the whole point of this technology is to focus on the details around your eyes. Sunglasses block your eyes, and while it may feel annoying to take off your sunglasses to get into your phone, taking off your mask might be a little worse.

This software might nit-pick your appearance. As it focuses in great detail around your eyes you will probably have to train it to recognize your prescribed seeing glasses to avoid a failed ID verification. What you do to your hair might also impact its accuracy, especially if it is a style that covers that area of your face.

It is less secure than full-face identity verification. Theoretically, this is true, full-face ID verification has more to work with when accurately identifying you than mask ID verification. Because this feature is still in beta, “Apple hasn’t shared any details on it beyond what’s shown on the setup screens in iOS 15.4. Apple does emphasize that it’s less accurate than normal Face ID, which makes sense considering that it only has a portion of your face to work with, but it hasn’t said how much less accurate it is” according to Jesse Hollington on iDrop News.

If you have a 12-13 iPhone and this update installed, you could always put this technology to the test and see if anyone of your family members or friends can unlock your phone with a mask on.

Large Scale Implementation

Facial Recognition is everywhere you go now, it’s at airports, in schools, and even at bars. One thing all of these places have in common is that people gather there and actively use their mobile phones, and even pay for food, or drinks.

So could the technology that Apple has put out to the public be used on a large commercial scale? The security risks at this stage, especially in air travel, might outweigh the benefits of Identity verification while wearing a mask.

Facial Recognition has only just been introduced in a commercial sense to the public, and in areas of transport and education. Though there are companies that value, safety, security, and convenience for customers, like Facedapter, large-scale implementation of this technology before the public has acclimated to Facial Recognition in public would be difficult.

While it may be early days for this technology in public commercial use, Apple users could not be happier because a little convenience goes a long way.

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