With watchOS 7.4, the main novelty comes from the possibility of being able to unlock your iPhone when you wear a mask with the help of your Apple Watch. We explain how to do it.

The Digital Crown of the Apple Watch SE

The Apple Watch can help you unlock your iPhone despite wearing the mask

If you have one of the latest iPhones with an Oled screen (since iPhone X), you’ve probably had some setbacks trying to access it with a mask on your face. Facial recognition then becomes an ordeal, because, inevitably, the True Depth camera does not recognize your half-visible face.

Apple Watch can come to your rescue. Worn on your wrist, it alone justifies your recognition and identification. But you must first have updated your iPhone to iOS 14.5 in order to then install watchOS 7.4 on your Apple Watch and take advantage of the new function.

How to update your Apple Watch?

First of all, your Apple Watch must be at least 50% charged and be placed on its charging stand to be able to start the update. It is also necessary that you have carried out the last update of your iPhone to iOS 14.5.

  • On iPhone, open the app Watch
  • Go to the tab My watch
  • In General, click on Software update. If this is available and was not done automatically, you can launch it.

Which Apple Watches are compatible?

The latest watch OS 7.4 update covers virtually every Apple Watch still in circulation. But you need an iPhone 6s or newer, updated to iOS 14.5.

Configure the function on your iPhone

To be able to use both devices, you must obviously have Face ID facial recognition enabled on your iPhone. If you haven’t:

  • Go to Settings> Face ID and code – You type in your code and configure the recognition of your face (or several if there are different users).
  • Then activate the unlocking of the iPhone from the options offered
  • In Unlock with Apple Watch, validate the function for your watch.

It is obviously necessary that the Apple Watch is on your wrist to be able to unlock your iPhone and that the two devices are nearby.

A vibration will be felt in your Apple Watch and a notification will appear to notify you of the unlocking. You have the option to cancel it if it was a mistake.

Apple Watch notifies you when iPhone unlocked

The Apple Watch notifies you of the unlocking of the iPhone

It doesn’t take more than a second to unlock your iPhone. Because you ultimately don’t have to take a look at your Apple Watch for that. You look as usual at your iPhone which just signals you through the vibration that it can unlock as you naturally do, by sliding your finger up from the bottom of the screen. The code remains accessible if your watch is not within range.

Obviously, if you have loaned your Apple Watch and your iPhone to another person, that person will also be able to unlock your smartphone

And the other updates of watchOS 7.4 …

watchOS 7.4 now allows you to better classify Bluetooth devices by type to identify them much better in your headphones, especially for audio notifications.

New emojis are also available as well as the choice of the default music service via Siri.


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